Sources: Tejano legend Emilio Navaira dead at 53
Tejano legend Emilio Navaira has died, according to multiple sources and colleagues.
The singer suffered a “massive heart attack” Monday, the sources said. He was 53.
Fans and fellow Tejano musicians began expressing condolences late Monday night on Facebook.
“Rest in paradise my Friend Emilio Navaira. I was just with him and Raulito 5 de Mayo weekend laughing about old times. My heart goes out to all his familia. Gonna miss you brother,” A.B. Quintanilla posted.
Quintanilla is the brother of the late Selena, who recorded the ballad “Tu Robaste Mi Corazon” with Navaira.
Oscar de la Rosa, lead singer for Tejano group La Mafia, called Navaira “mi amigo y compañero, uno de los grandes en nuestro genero” — “my friend and companion, one of the greats in our genre.”
Navaira was the Tejano Music Awards’ male vocalist of the ’90s. In addition to that honor, he won 21 Tejano Music Awards, including male entertainer of the year five times.
He won a Grammy Award in 2002 for best Tejano album for “Acuerdate.”
From 1989 to 1992, during Tejano music’s boom years, he placed three albums in the top 15 of Billboard’s Regional Mexican chart, “Emilio Navaira and the Rio Band,” “Shoot It” and “Unsung Highways.”
“Like Selena, Emilio was very humble and performed in concert at Memorial high school back in 1989 when many Tejano artist avoided playing in high schools”
Navaira nearly died on Easter Sunday 2008 in Houston when his tour bus crashed into traffic barrels on Loop 610. He was behind the wheel and was ejected through the windshield.
He suffered massive brain injuries and endured several operations. He pleaded guilty to drunken-driving, resulting in a fine, house arrest and probation.
In time, he made a miraculous recovery and got back to touring and recording. A duets album, “Juntos,” was released in 2015.
“I’m really sad right now with the passing of a great Tejano artist, and friend. Rest in Paradise Emilio Navaira,” wrote David Delagarza, keyboard player for La Mafia.
Singer Shelly Lares said she was “sincerely saddened by the news of the passing of my good friend Emilio Navaira.
“He has been a friend since I was 10 years old, and we not only performed so many places together he and his amazing family are friends. I pray for strength for his kids and entire family.”
photos: Ramon Hernandez