San Diegans remember Latin music superstar Juan Gabriel

Posted at 1:22 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 16:52:36-04

San Diegans are feeling the loss of Latin music star Juan Gabriel, who passed away Sunday at his Santa Monica home at the age of 66.

Last week, many San Diegans attended Gabriel's concert at Valley View Casino Center.

"When we learn he was coming here to San Diego, I told my coworkers we got to go," said fan Angie Sierra.

It was a big night for Sierra and 10 of her co-workers from the El Latino San Diego Newspaper in Chula Vista. Many hadn't seen Gabriel, known by his fans as "El Divo de Juarez" or "The Divo of Juarez," in concert before.

"This was the best concert I had ever been to," said Sierra.

"It was great. Everybody was dancing. Everybody was happy. We noticed he looked tired. He was tired and sitting most of the time and a lot of people were singing for him," said fan Emilia Barrett.

Gabriel was a superstar Mexican songwriter and singer who was an icon in the Latin music world. President Obama called him "one of the greats."

"He has a bigger than life stage presence. Kind of flamboyant with all his outfits. He's a singer/songwriter so he writes and performs all his own stuff," said Mauricio Gonzalez of Radio Latina 104.5.

The radio station broke the news about Gabriel's death on Sunday to their listeners in Tijuana and San Diego. Many gathered in Tijuana last night to honor the icon, who -- according to initial reports -- died from a heart attack.

"There was a procession from the Mariachi Plaza at Plaza Santa Cecilia. They rode all the way to Revolución to his star on the Tijuana Walk of Fame," said Gonzalez.

Fans have also been paying their respects in Hollywood, covering Gabriel's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with flowers, candles and photos.

"We just barely saw him in concert last weekl; It was very shocking news for everyone," said Sierra.

"It's amazing how you can realize you never know when you're going to leave," said Barrett.

Gabriel had a 44-year career in music. He held 15,000 concerts and wrote songs for more than 1,500 artists, including Marc Anthony.

His family will be releasing further details regarding his death in the coming days.