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Salsa music star José 'Cheo' Feliciano, 78, dies in car crash

SAN JUAN (Reuters) - Puerto Rican singer José Luis "Cheo" Feliciano who performed with some of salsa's top stars, was killed in a car crash in San Juan early Thursday morning, police said.
/ Source: Reuters

SAN JUAN (Reuters) - Puerto Rican singer José Luis "Cheo" Feliciano who performed with some of salsa's top stars, was killed in a car crash in San Juan early Thursday morning, police said.

He was 78.

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared three days of mourning.

Feliciano died shortly after 4 a.m., according to Axel Valencia, San Juan police spokesman. The El Nuevo Dia newspaper said his Jaguar hit an electricity pole.

Not to be confused with the younger José Feliciano, a famous Puerto Rican guitarist and singer with a string of popular hits, including his rendition of the The Doors' "Light by Fire," Cheo Feliciano was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and dropped out of school at 17 to train with top salsa orchestras in New York, according to Billboard.com.

Feliciano died shortly after 4 a.m, according to Axel Valencia, San Juan police spokesman. The El Nuevo Dia newspaper said his Jaguar hit an electricity pole.

He played with the bandleader Joe Cuba before joining the Fania Records' All-Stars. He recorded 17 albums, mostly in the '50s and '60s and was honored with the Latin Grammy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

(Writing by David Adams, Editing by W Simon)