Salsa Legend Cheo Feliciano Dies in Car Crash

78-year-old Puerto Rican musician passes away after hitting light post.

Posted: 04/17/2014 12:39 PM EDT
Filed Under Music News, Salsa

Cheo Feliciano

Puerto Rican salsa legend Cheo Feliciano, formally known as José Luis Feliciano Vega, died in a car accident early Thursday, at the age of 78. 

Feliciano crashed his Jaguar into an electrical light post at 4:13 a.m. local time in Cupey, an area near the island's capital city of San Juan. He died from the impact of the accident, officials said.

The singer/composer was not wearing his seatbelt at the time, and had been at a casino the night before, his wife, Socorro "Coco" Prier Leon, told the press. "He was the only man in my life," Leon said through tears. "I thank everyone for the love they had for him."

While it is not known what led up to the fatal incident, no drugs or alcohol were found in the vehicle, according to police officer Jorge Hernandez Pena. 

Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla has announced three days of national mourning in honor of Feliciano. He is survived by his wife and several children.

Born in the southern city of Ponce, which is Puerto Rico's second-largest city after the capital, Feliciano was best known for his impact on the salsa and bolero genres respectively. Some of his hits include "Una en un millón" ("One in a Million"), "Mi promesa" ("My Promise") and "Contigo aprendi" ("I Learned With You").

Feliciano will be buried in Ponce, his wife said.  

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(Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo)

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