So sad — one of salsa music’s brightest stars has died. Cheo, a Puerto Rican singer and composer who was considered salsa royalty, was tragically killed in a car wreck in San Juan on April 17. He was 78 years old.
Salsa has lost one of its biggest legends. Jose Luis “Cheo” Feleciano Vega sadly passed away after losing control of his car and crashing into a light pole early on the morning of April 17 in San Juan, according to local police.
Cheo Feliciano Dead — Salsa Legend Dies In Car Crash At 78
Cheo, a Ponce, Puerto Rico native who gained popularity in New York after serving as a musician and singer for multiple salsa and bolero groups, was driving his Jaguar when he lost control and crashed. He died at the scene of the accident, CNN reports.
Cheo was alone in the car and police are investigating how fast he was driving, officials told CNN en Español.
Cheo’s wife, Coco, revealed to the press that her husband preferred not to wear a seat belt.
Cheo was a celebrated salsa artist who received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, has declared three days of mourning for Cheo, who will be remembered for his hit songs “Anacaona”, “Juan Albañil” and “Amada Mia”, among others.
In 2013, Cheo was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, for which he underwent treatment. After the news of his illness got to the press, Cheo released a statement, saying:
I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to publicly express my thanks for the unconditional support I’ve received, first from my family, my children, grandchildren, great-granddaughter and my rock, my beloved wife Coco. Thank you for all the love. Please continue to pray for my quick recovery.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cheo’s friends and family during this difficult time.
— Tierney McAfee