If you haven’t heard what happened to Tito Rojas, we have sad news to report: The singer, a beloved Puerto Rican salsa star, died at age 65 in Humacao, Puerto Rico, on Saturday, Dec. 26.
What happened to Tito Rojas?
According to ABC 7 Eyewitness News, family members found Tito, known as “El Gallo Salsero,” lying on the floor of a balcony of a residence in the Tejas neighborhood of the city, but he had already passed away of a suspected heart attack when first responders arrived at the house.
Fans in Puerto Rico and around the world are mourning the death of Tito Rojas.
Following Tito’s death, Humacao mayor Luis Raúl Sánchez declared a five-day mourning period, starting on Saturday. “I contacted a family spokesperson to offer and make available the facilities of the Marcelo Trujillo Panisse Coliseum for the wake of our friend and Humacaeño Tito Rojas,” Luis said in a statement, according to CNN en Español.
Wanda Vázquez Garced, governor of Puerto Rico, marked the loss in a tweet on Saturday. “We and the world of salsa are in mourning with the sad departure of our Tito Rojas, Gallo Salsero,” Wanda wrote in Spanish. “Our family loves salsa, and we deeply feel his departure. A hug of solidarity from us to your family members. Rest in peace!”
Gilberto Santa Rosa, a Puerto Rican singer and bandleader known as “El Caballero de la Salsa” or “The Gentleman of Salsa,” tweeted, “My dear Gallo, we are going to miss you and remember you in every song, in every saying and in every gesture of affection and companionship that you left.”
And on Instagram that day, Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Don Omar posted a photo of Tito and wrote, “Rest in peace.”
Tito’s discography spans nearly a half-century.
Born Julio César Rojas López, Tito released his first of 25 albums, Mima la pululera, with Pedro Conga in 1972, as El Mundo reports. He later joined Cuban singer Justo Betancourt’s band and produced two of Justo’s solo albums.
Tito’s discography also includes the 1984 album El Campesino, 1993’s Con La Puerto Rican Power, 1998’s Asi Empezo la Historia, and 2019’s Un Gallo Para La Historia, according to Discogs.
On Thursday, Dec. 24, Tito and his orchestra treated fans to a virtual performance through his YouTube page, per El Mundo.
Fans are sharing their memories of the singer.
On Twitter, celebrities and common folk alike paid tribute to Tito and his legacy.
AEW wrestler Santana tweeted, “RIP to a true pioneer. Your music is forever etched in my mind. And your voice was all the motivation and passion my mom needed for Sunday cleaning.”
Vampires vs. the Bronx retweeted Santana’s post and wrote, “Wow! A pioneer indeed. RIP Tito Rojas el Gallo. I grew up listening to your music blasting in the house for Sunday cleaning, as well.”
And Panamanian musician and Fear the Walking Dead star Rubén Blades tweeted that Tito was a “colleague and a friend” who was “gifted with a sense of humor and a dynamic personality.”