Celia Cruz
¡Azúcar!

Celebrating Celia Cruz’s legacy 18 years after her death

Known as one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century, Celia released hit after hit

On July 16, 2003, the entertainment industry lost one of its best Latin recording artists. Celia Cruz, also known as “La Guarachera de Cuba” and “La Reina de la Salsa,” passed away in New Jersey months after recovering from surgery to remove an aggressive brain tumor.

During her career, the Cuban-American singer and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century released hit after hit. Today, 18 years after her death she is remembered for songs such as “Bemba colorá,” “Quimbara,” “La vida es un carnaval” and ”La negra tiene tumbao.”

Celia Cruz at the Festival in Montreux, Switzerland in July, 2001.©GettyImages
Celia Cruz at the Festival in Montreux, Switzerland in July, 2001.

Cruz‘s legacy is valued in the whole world; therefore, she has been honored multiple times. Before her death, Cruz received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and an asteroid was named after her, 5212 Celiacruz. Among her awards, we can find the Excellence Awards at the 1990 Lo Nuestro Awards, and a street in Miami called Celia Cruz Way.

Cruz received three Honoris Causa doctorates from Yale University, Florida International University, and University of Miami and was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame and the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. Celia was the first person ever to receive the ASCAP Latin Heritage Award.

Celia Cruz On Latin Grammy Awards©GettyImages
Celia Cruz, winner of Best Salsa Album for ‘La Negra Tiene Tumbao,’ onstage with her award at the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards, held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California, September 18, 2002.

Celia Cruz, born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, recorded 37 studio albums, plus many more live albums and collaborations. Besides her prolific music career, Cruz appeared in movies and telenovelas.

¡Azúcar! Cruz‘s well-known catchphrase still follows the Latinx community everywhere they go. Although Celia is no longer with us, her music is still alive. Her sense of humor, colorful hair, and vibrant fashion are still recreated to honor her contribution to the entertainment industry.

We will remember and miss Celia forever!

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