SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rican salsa legend Cheo Feliciano died in a car accident early Thursday, prompting the governor of the U.S. territory to declare three days of mourning.
Feliciano, a member of the Fania All Stars, was one of the most recognized salsa singers, with hits including “Una en un millón,” “Mi promesa,” and “Contigo aprendi.”
The 78-year-old Feliciano was alone in his Jaguar when he hit a light post before dawn in the northern suburb of Cupey. Police officer Jorge Hernandez Pena, who is overseeing investigation of the crash, said in a phone interview that Feliciano was not wearing his seatbelt.
He said it is unclear what led to the crash, adding that officials did not find any drugs or alcohol in the car.
His wife of 56 years, Socorro “Coco” Prieto Leon, told reporters that Feliciano had been at a casino Wednesday night.
“He was the only man in my life,” Prieto said as she cried. “I thank everyone for the love they had for him.”
Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared three days of mourning, saying, “Today, Puerto Rico lost one of its greatest voices.”
Feliciano had been hospitalized last year for pneumonia and was fighting cancer.
He is survived by his wife and several children. Prieto said he will be buried in his hometown of Ponce.
© The Associated Press, 2014