Jose Jose arrives for the 12th annual Latin Grammy Awards at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 10, 2011. — AFP/VNA Photo
MIAMI — Jose Jose, a velvety-voiced Mexican crooner who was wildly popular in Latin America over a 50-year career that spawned love song after love song, has died, the Mexican government and his son said on Saturday. He was 71.
Jose Romulo Sosa Ortiz, known as the "principe de la cancion", or prince of song, had suffered from pancreatic cancer.
"We regret to report the death of singer Jose Romulo Sosa, better known as Jose Jose... since the beginning of his career, the singer of El Triste was one of the most beloved voices in Mexico," the country's Culture Ministry said on Twitter.
Son Jose Joel posted images of black ribbons on his Facebook page, saying "we are trying to process the situation by having in our heart the divine promise that we will see and hold him again, never to be separated."
Mexican broadcaster Televisa, which Jose Jose worked with for much of his career, reported that the singer died on Saturday at a hospital in Homestead, Florida, near Miami.
His body was taken to a Miami funeral home later in the day where his wife, Sara Salazar, gave a brief statement to the press.
"The love of my life has gone away," she said.
In his heyday in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Jose Jose churned out hit records at a dizzying pace.
He sold more than 120 million records during his professional life, many of them featuring songs meant to comfort jilted lovers.
His first international hit – La Nave del Olvido, or The Ship of Oblivion – came out in 1970 and is still heard on Latin American radio stations from time to time.
"He was an extraordinary singer," Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.
"He made many people in my generation cry or feel happy with his songs," the 65-year-old leader said. "The best tribute that we can pay him is to remember and never stop listening to his songs. Some of his hits are just amazing."
His lyrics could be heard playing in Mexico's streets and coming from houses, shops and cars throughout the afternoon, as TV stations canceled previously planned programming to air remembrances.
Jose Jose had an interest in mysticism, and in March 2018, when he revealed to his fans that he had been diagnosed with cancer, he blamed it on what he called negative energy surrounding him. — AFP