Singer Juan Gabriel still inspiring border residents four years after his death

Hot Topics

Juarez sponsoring weekend festival to honor memory of one of Latin America's best-selling performers

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Rosa Maria Medina was 15 when she watched her first Juan Gabriel concert. The escapade cost her a beating.

“I spent the money my father gave me for shoes,” she said. “I always admired him. I’m sad that he’s no longer with us, but he lives on in our hearts.”

On Friday, Medina and dozens of border residents lined the gates to the late singer’s iconic white mansion on Juarez’s 16th of September Avenue. It’s the fourth anniversary of Juan Gabriel’s death and the singer’s family and Juarez city officials are marking the occasion with a music festival in a plaza next door.

Small groups of people will be allowed to tour the home’s gardens from 7-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and residents of Juarez and El Paso can follow the festivities online each evening, said Laura Dominguez, Juarez’s director of social development.

“He was much talented and loved and brought a lot of positive attention to Ciudad Juarez,” she said. “Alberto Aguilera died but Juan Gabriel lives on. He sang about love and heartbreak, joy and sadness. Who hasn’t cried with (his songs)?”

The lineup includes Mexican country singer Aida Cuevas, Grupo Hacha and various mariachi bands.

Juan Gabriel, the nom-de-guerre for one Alberto Aguilera Valadez, became one of Latin America’s best-selling singers and songwriters during a career that spanned 51 years. Songs like “Amor Eterno” and “Querida” have become classics in the Spanish language.

Juan Gabriel died of a heart attack on Aug. 28, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. His body was cremated and the ashes are kept inside the mansion at 16th of September Avenue.

Performers have been flown in from Mexico City to take part in the festivities. Juan Gabriel’s star on Friday was restored to a sidewalk on Juarez Avenue after being removed during the construction of the city’s new Path of Lights.

Juan Manuel Adriano Ramirez said he met the singer and his family several decades ago, just before Juan Gabriel became a mega-star in the Spanish pop scene. He said the singer inspired him to write poems, essays and songs.

A statue of Mexican singer Juan Gabriel stands on a plaza next to the singer’s former mansion on 16th of September Avenue in Juarez. (photo by Julian Resendiz/Broder Report)

“I think in death he’s become even more famous, more loved and respected,” Adriano said. “His life itself is a story of struggle, suffering and success. He left the urge in many of us to aspire to be better than we were perhaps destined to.”

Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada (left) unveils Juan Gabriel’s star, to be placed on the sidewalk of Juarez Avenue. (Courtesy City of Juarez)

You can follow the festival online in the City of Juarez’s official web page and in Mayor Armando Cabada’s platform as well.

Visit the homepage for the latest exclusive stories and breaking news about issues along the United States-Mexico border.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

El Paso Correspondent Latest Stories

More Julian Resendiz

South Texas Correspondent Latest Stories

More Sandra Sanchez

California Correspondent Latest Stories

More Salvador Rivera

Border Report Correspondents' Stories

Latest Stories

Washington D.C.

More Washington D.C.

Don't Miss


About Border Report

The mission of is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.