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Latin singer Soraya dies of cancer at 37

Was one of first artists to record in both English and Spanish
/ Source: Billboard

Colombian-born singer/songwriter Soraya, one of the first artists to record in both English and Spanish, has died after a battle with breast cancer, sources said. She was 37.

Although details were not clear, published reports and sources say the Latin Grammy winner died Wednesday morning in Florida.

Soraya, whose mother, aunt and grandmother died of breast cancer, was diagnosed with stage three of the disease in June 2000. She successfully underwent treatment, but sources say she relapsed at the beginning of the year.

A soulful singer whose music ranged from romanticism to social conscience, Soraya won the first ever Latin Grammy for best singer/songwriter album with her self-titled 2003 release. She released her last album in 2005.

Raised in the United States, she launched a promising career in the late 1990s by mixing Spanish and English. A charismatic performer, from the onset, she was able to open concerts for the likes of Sting even as her songs topped the Billboard Latin Pop airplay charts. Soraya went on to become one of the most acclaimed female voices in Latin pop and rock.

This week, she posted a goodbye letter to fans on her Web site. “I know there are many questions without answers, and that hope doesn’t leave with me, and above all, that my mission does not end with my physical story,” she wrote.

A funeral service will take place in Miami, details of which have not yet been announced.