Fans mourn death of Latin music superstar Juan Gabriel

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Fans gathered throughout Southern California to mourn the death of Latin music superstar Juan Gabriel.

Gabriel died unexpectedly of an apparent heart attack at his Santa Monica home Sunday. He was 66.

President Barack Obama called him "one of the greats of Latin music" in a statement.

"To so many Mexican-Americans, Mexicans and people all over the world, his music sounds like home. With his romantic lyrics, passionate performances and signature style, Juan Gabriel captivated audiences and inspired countless young musicians," Obama said.

Fans came together outside Gabriel's home and around his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Sunday night.

"He was a really great composer, a really great song writer and performer, entertainer, a lot of people revered him as one of the greatest Mexican singers of all time," Alvin Gonzalez of Rosemead said.

MORE: Juan Gabriel, legendary Mexican singer-songwriter, dies at 66

His songs were performed A cappella style in tribute as fans wiped away tears and placed flowers on makeshift memorials.

"Music is beautiful and people from all walks of life enjoy him and that's what I like," Luz Trejo of Oxnard said. "It's like a family affair and he brought people together."

Gabriel, whose real name was Alberto Aguilera Valadez, had been in town after performing in front of a sold out crowd at The Forum on Friday.

As a child, Gabriel spent eight years in a Mexican orphanage and began writing music as a teen.

He would go on to write more than 2,000 songs and sell more than 100 million albums in his lifetime.
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