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Legendary crooner José José, Mexican musical icon for half a century, dies at age 71

José José, a Mexican music icon, has died, the Mexican Ministry of Culture said. He was 71.

“From the Ministry of Culture we are sorry for the passing of singer José Rómulo Sosa, better known as José José of the prince of the song. Since the beginning of his career, the singer of El Triste became one of most beloved voices in Mexico. Rest in Peace,” the ministry tweeted Saturday.

The Spanish-language singer, songwriter and actor — whose birth name is José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz– had been battling pancreatic cancer and had been hospitalized multiple times in recent years.

The singer, called by fans and colleagues “El Príncipe de la canción” (Prince of the romantic song), had tweeted in June that he was undergoing therapy and thanked his fans for their support.

He was known for romantic ballads like “La Nave del Olvido,” “40 y 20,” “Gavilán o Paloma” and “El Triste,” and many more songs that became hits throughout his career of more than half a century.

Born in Mexico City, José José had been destined to enter the music industry. He grew up surrounded by music, as his father was a tenor for the Mexico National Opera and his mother was professional pianist.

He started his career singing jazz and bossa nova but jumped to fame in 1970 when he sang “El Triste” at the Festival de la Canción Latina.

The singer announced he had been diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and last year, rumors on his fragile health spread when he was hospitalized in Miami.

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