We may have seen the last of Hector Lavoe, but the memory of the iconic king of salsa remains evergreen in the hearts of his admirers scattered around the world. Lavoe, also known as El Cantante de Los Cantantes (The Singer of the Singers), went down in history as one of the best salsa musicians who carried Latin American music and salsa to the whole world. He started to fascinate his fans with his unique musical style in the 60s.
At the end of the ’80s, Hector was on his way to the evening of his days when he began to suffer from depression and addiction, which was made worse by his diagnosis of HIV. Here you will find everything you need to know about the life and death of the cult salsa singer.
Hector Lavoe’s Biography
He was born Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez on September 30, 1946, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, the son of his parents, Francisca (Pachita) Martínez and Luis Pérez. It was indeed a question of inheritance for the singer, who grew up in a family of musically inclined people. His father was very good with the guitar, and his mother was known for her unique singing voice. Hector joined his parents’ line and turned his passion for music into a career. He attended the Juan Morel Campos Public School of Music, where his inclination for music developed further. Influenced by Jesús Sánchez Erazo and Daniel Santos, he soon dropped out of school and set sail towards a singing career.
In 1963 he moved to New York City and began singing in a sextet founded by Roberto Garcia. He was 17 years old at the time and worked with groups like Orquesta New York, Kako All-Stars, and Johnny Pacheco, who was co-owner of Fania Records. In 1967 Hector came into contact with Willie Colon, a salsa musician. After several conversations with Willie Colon, Lavoe was recorded on a track of Colon’s first album El Malo. Lavoe’s voice and carriage were indeed the best and Colon kept the precious gift he had received – Lavoe.
The album was eventually released and it was a huge commercial success that brought both Colon and Lavoe to the forefront and also drove them to great heights financially. After the success of the album, they both counted in millions. The two began several tours to promote the album and the tours that followed immediately.
In 1973, Lavoe went solo and led his own band and began to tour with the band and perform their own songs. He recorded songs like “El Cantante”, “Bandolera” and “El periódico de Ayer” and many others in his solo career. During this time he also performed as an invited singer with the Fania All-Stars and recorded many songs with them.
In the late 1970s, Hector fell into a severe depression and resorted to medication. His addiction got worse over the years and Lavoe sought help from a priest who was supposed to help him with his drug addiction.
He came to a rehab clinic and responded to therapy until the devastating developments of the death of his son, mother, and father-in-law, and the diagnosis of HIV hit him. This prompted Lavoe to return to his old drug habits. He was so depressed that he attempted suicide.
During this time, Lavoe recorded an album, although his health was already deteriorating. The singer’s last performances were in 1990 when he sang with the Fania All-Stars in New Jersey, and in 1992 at the S.O.B.’s club in New York. On June 29, 1993, he died of AIDS at the age of 46 after a complication.
His Net Worth
There were discrepancies in the reports on the net value of El Cantante de Los Cantantes. This is to be expected since he died many years ago. While many sources estimated his net worth at $1 million, Hector Lavoe earned so much more during his active years. However, there are no obvious materials to confirm this.
Family – Wife, Sons, Daughter
Hector Lavoe would have protected his wife if he were still alive. At the time of his death in 1993, he was married to Nilda Puchi Lavoe. Nilda lost her life in 2002, nine years after her husband’s death, to the cold hands of death. During the shooting of a documentary film “El Cantante” about her late husband, Nilda tragically slipped out of the window of her 14th-floor apartment, fell to the floor, and died after suffering severe head trauma.
Hector and Nilda shared a son, Hector Jr. also died in 1969 after being accidentally shot by a friend of his father. Lavoe was the stepfather of Nilda’s daughter Leslie.