Fans flocked to Hollywood Monday to pay respects to Mexican music superstar Juan Gabriel, covering his Walk of Fame star with flowers, candles and photos, as the tributes even came from the White House.
Gabriel, 66, died Sunday at his home in Santa Monica, where some fans gathered last night and joined together in song.
Known for his powerful ballads a commanding stage presence punctuated by often-flamboyant costumes, Gabriel was a beloved entertainer whose death sent shockwaves through the music world and across the United States and Mexico.
“For over 40 years, Juan Gabriel brought his beloved Mexican music to millions, transcending borders and generations,” President Barack Obama said today. “To so many Mexican-Americans, Mexicans and people all over the world, his music sounds like home. With his romantic lyrics, passionate performances and signature style, Juan Gabriel captivated audiences and inspired countless young musicians.
“He was one of the greats of Latin music — and his spirit will live on in his enduring songs, and in the hearts of the fans who love him,” Obama said.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto eulogized Gabriel on Twitter Sunday, saying his talent “represented Mexico.”
“His music is a legacy for the world,” he wrote.
Flowers were placed on Gabriel’s star on the Walk of Fame this morning by the Hollywood Historic Trust, an arm of the Chamber of Commerce. But that display was overshadowed by the dozens of bouquets, pictures, balloon, candles and other mementos brought to his star by mourning fans.
“It’s beautiful. I think it’s a good way to show him and his family and his fans, his public, that we love him,” fan Joel Guerrero told KCAL9. “Keep him in your hearts, keep him in your prayers and always love him.”
Also gathering at Gabriel’s star was a horde of media from Los Angeles and around the world.
Gabriel — whose real name is Alberto Aguilera Valadez — performed a two-hour set at the Los Angeles Forum Friday night as part of his “MeXXico Es Todo Tour.” He was scheduled to perform Sunday in El Paso, Texas.
Fiercely proud of his Mexican heritage, Gabriel sang on streets corners as a poor teenager, and he had a gold record under his belt by his early 20s. He went on to compose more than 1,000 songs during a career that saw him become a musical voice of Mexico.
“I’m a Mexican-American,” a fan in Hollywood told KCAL9 .”I grew up with his music as a child and a teenager.”
–Staff and wire reports
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