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Salsa legend, Johnny Pacheco dies at 85 after being hospitalized with pneumonia

Johnny Pacheco, the legendary bandleader, producer, and co-founder of salsa label Fania Records, has died. He was 85 years old.

The Dominican-born nine-time Grammy nominee passed away on Monday afternoon after being hospitalized with pneumonia, People reported.

He had been hospitalized in New York a few days earlier for pneumonia, his wife, Maria Elena “Cuqui” Pacheco, said on the artist’s Facebook account.

 

Pacheco is best-known for promoting salsa in the 1960s and 70s and for founding Fania Records with Jerry Masucci.

 

Considered a trailblazer in his chosen musical genre, he was presented with the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by the Latin Recording Academy in 2005. His albums Cross Over and Eternos (1979), De Nuevo (1985) and Salsobita (1988) were all nominated for Grammy Awards.

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Pacheco was born in the Dominican Republic in 1935 where his father was the leader of a big band that played popular dance music.

 

The family later moved to the US when he was 11 and they settled in New York.

In 1963,  he formed Fania Records with attorney Jerry Masucci and helped make salsa internationally popular.

Fania Records revolutionized the sound of Cuban dance music in the 1970s and Pacheco was a prolific songwriter and musical arranger whose work helped launch the careers of Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades.

He composed more than 150 songs during his long career including La Dicha Mía, Quitate Tu Pa’Ponerme I, Acuyuye, and Le roi de la ponctualité.

Pacheco is survived by his wife Cuqui Pacheco and their four children.

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