Celia Cruz

  • Born: October 21, 1925
  • Died: July 16, 2003
  • Location: Fort Lee, New Jersey

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Celia Cruz

"Queen of Salsa" dies at 77

Salsa fans in the United States mourned the death of the Cuban "Queen of salsa" Celia Cruz by spontaneously forming memorials, laying wreaths and singing songs in the street.

She died on Wednesday from a brain tumor at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey. She was 77.

In Miami, Florida, crowds gathered on a local street where stars have been laid into the sidewalk honoring Salsa celebrities like Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

Catholic Bishop of Miami, Agustin Roman, went to the star to pay his respects.

He said: "Celia is part of the shrine of Our Lady of Charity."

Many in the city's large Cuban community flew their national flag at half-mast to mark her passing as well.

Cruz recorded more than 70 albums. She won best salsa album at last year's Latin Grammy Awards, and won the same award at this year's Grammys. Her other best known recordings include "Yerberito Moderno" and "Que le Den Candela."

Cruz studied to be a teacher in her native Havana, but was lured into show business when a relative entered her in a radio talent contest, which she won.

She studied music at the Havana Conservatory and performed at the world famous Tropicana nightclub.

Her body will be on view on Monday at a Manhattan funeral home.