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Latin Actors, Singers, Musicians and Promoters Who Passed On in 2011

Axel Martínez, Puerto Rican composer and lead singer with La Orquesta de Pedro (Gonga) López passed on January 30.

Ezequiel “Zeke” R. Saucedo, who with Sam De León convinced Emilio Guerrero to form Charro band, died in Corpus Christi on January 30 at the age of 57.

Danny Yanez, who many musicians referred to as “an accordionist’s accordionist” because of his progressive style, passed on Febuary 4, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Eddie Galván, a longtime Miller High School band leader, former Corpus Christi Port Authority commissioner, and a founding member of the Texas Jazz Festival, went to be with our Lord on February 15, sixty-one years and two days after the grand opening of the Galván Ballroom. He was 83.

Antonio “Tony” Ambriz Garza, who helped launch his sons’ musical careers in Tejano through Los Musicales, which in turn served as a springboard for others well-known vocalist went on to be with the Lord on March 27 after a stroke and leukemia weaken his body and he died of natural causes. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, daughter, Rebecca E. Gómez; and sons, David Lee Garza, Adam and Richard; plus 12 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Huey P. Meaux a.k.a. the Crazy Cajun was a controversial studio and record label owner who helped define the Gulf Coast sound through hits by Sunny (Ozuna) and the Sunliners, the Sir Douglas Quintet and Freddy Fender. The 82-year-old legendary producer died at his Winnie, Texas home in April 23, two months after this writer had the privilege of being granted an exclusive interview for the books on Ozuna and Fender.

Víctor Manuel Sánchez, who was born on July 27, 1954, died on April 29 and the U.S. Army Veteran was buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.

Santiago Cerón, a Dominican sonero-songwriter born July 25, 1940 and recorded 32 albums during his illustrious career, died of a heart attack on May 10.

Humberto López Lozano a.k.a. “Capirucha,” who owned KMIQ, KXTM, KHMC and KLMO plus formed the Tejano Music Video Network went to be with our Lord on May 16 after battling a long illness. The Tejano Roots Hall of Famer was 74.

Juan Ignacio Murillo a.k.a. El , who played bass with Siglo 21, Brown Express, was a founding member of Mazz and founder of The Force, died peacefully in Brownsville, Texas on May 18.

Snowball was the name he was best known under, but his real name was Ramiro De La Cruz, a guitarist with Óscar Hernández y Los Algres del Valle, Carlos Guzman y Los Fabulosos Cuatro, Fandango, co-founder of Los Unikos and founder of Snowball and Company featuring Laura Canales and most recently performed with Los Mensajeros de Cristo. The McAllen native and Tejano Roots inductee was 68 when he passed on May 20.

Gloria Valencia de Castaño, the “First Lady of Radio and Television” in Colombia, left us on May 24.

Manolo Otero Aparicio, one of Spain’s most famous balladeers died of cancer on June 1 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. On the personal side, he was married to actress-singer María Cantudo, the mother of his only son (Manolo Jr.) and Brazilian beauty Celeste Ferreira. Hence the reason he spent most of the last decade performing all over South America.

Javier Villanueva a.k.a. “The Dean of Tejano” and co-founder of the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame died surrounded by family in Alice, Texas on June 10 on his 61st birthday.

Abelardo “Cha Cha” Jiménez Sr. was a conjunto music legend, who sang with el Conjunto Bernal prior to forming his own Los Chacos. The Raymondville, Texas, who spent most of his life in Alamo, Texas and was inducted into the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame in 2003 died from liver cancer on June 15. The singer, who replaced Snowball in Los Fabulosos Cuatro when he was drafted into the Army, is survived by his wife, Marina, and three children, Abelardo Jr., Jessika and Ronica Jackson.

Joe Ramos of the Brownsville, Texas based Ellos passed on some time in the latter part of June, but web searches in Rio Grande Valley newspaper obituaries have fail to turn up any information, therefore we are asking any readers that know his date of death, or family contact number to please contact StreetTalk at (210) 614-6146.

Manuel Galban, the Grammy winning Cuban guitarist with the Buena Vista Social Club died of a heart attack on July 7. He was 80.

Facundo Cabral, an Argentine vocalist, traveled to 165 countries as a messenger for world peace and was once nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize was at the wrong place at the wrong time when gunmen – planning to kill a promoter in Guatemala – opened fire on his vehicle while en route to the airport on July 9. The world-famous literary arts author, songwriter and protest singer entered the musical field as El Indio Gasparino, before settling on his own name. A highly spiritual human being, he loved Jesus and the writing of Ghandi, Borges and Whitman.

Albert “Cornelio” Reyna Jr. died an unexpected death in a Mexico City hospital on August 8. He is survived by his wife, Norma Alicia López, and their four children: Alberto Alejandro, César Cornelio, Sebastián Eduardo and Fernanda Romina. Before dying, Reyna had recorded a tribute album to his father.

Guillermo Zarur Collado, a Mexican actor born July 20, 1932, died on August 8. He was 79.

Enrique Cáceres Méndez, who replaced Johnny Albino as lead vocalist with Los Panchos, passed on August 22 in Mexico City. He was 75.

José “Pepe” Ontiveros Meza, composer and lead vocalist for Los Canelos de Durango, never cameo ut of a coma in a Culiacaán, Sinaloa hospital and was declared dead on September 8.

Capulina, the beloved Mexican actor-comedian-TV personality whose real name was Gaspar Henaine Pérez, died on September 30.

Frank Ramírez Ontiveros, actor born July 6, 1959, died October 4, 2011, he was 52.

Raúl Salazar, harmónica player and the third voice of Cuarteto Armónico in Mexico passed on December 13. Other members of this popular quartet are Carlos López, lead vocalist; Julio Salazar, second voice; and Antonio Córdoba, fourth voice.

Silvestre Amadeo Flores died on December 17 at the age of 79. This beloved pioneer accordionist, who in 2008 dedicated his life to Jehovah God, began his musical journey in 1949 and he continued to play into this century. As Villanueva, Flores was also associated with the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame.

Pedro Armendáriz Jr., who was most recently seen by all Univision telenovela viewers on “La Fuerza del Destino” as Señor McGuire, died of cancer on December 26. The ultra well respected actor was 71.

During 2011 it was rumored that popular actors and televisión hosts Xavier López and Chabelo had died. The same was said of Fidel Castro, but there was no truth to any of those falsehoods.

In closing, let me quote an unattributed saying and that is, “Lo importante es vivir estando vivo.” It loses something in the translation, which is “What is important is to live while you’re alive.”