Fans watching Mexican singer Juan Gabriel at his sold-out show at the Forum in Los Angeles on Friday couldn’t have guessed that it would be the legendary performer’s last. The flashy, 66-year-old musician died in Santa Monica Sunday morning, just hours before he was expected to leave for a concert in El Paso, Texas, CNN reports. (The singer had lived in the U.S. for decades.)
According to the Los Angeles Times, Gabriel (whose real name is Alberto Aguilera Valadez) released his first gold record in Mexico in 1971, pumping out decades of hits for himself as well as writing songs for other performers, and eventually becoming "the best-selling artist in Mexican history." Gabriel also had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Of the star's passing, Mayor Eric Garcetti said:
"Today, Mexico loses one of its greatest sons. Juan Gabriel brought the music and culture of our community to life for the world. I had the honor of meeting him and giving him his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame more than a decade ago. He loved Southern California and we loved him right back. Angelenos were honored to witness his final curtain call at the Forum this past weekend. This loss is heartbreaking pero 'El Divo' y su musica sobrevive en nuestros corazones para siempre."
The county corner has said that Gabriel died of natural causes, the Times says. He had experienced health problems recently, and was hospitalized in 2014 for pneumonia, but if he was feeling unwell he suppressed it for Friday night's show in Inglewood. The legendary Forum, which hosted the Lakers through the 1980s and 16 performances by Led Zeppelin, was designed by Charles Luckman. It seats 17,500 and reopened in 2014 after undergoing a major overhaul. Photos and videos from the three-hour-long show show the singer performing his signature, lively gyrations and belting out the hits. We’ve rounded up some of the best images from Gabriel's final show, many of them posted in the hours since news of the superstar’s passing spread.