EL PASO, Texas -

The promoter who booked Juan Gabriel's tours over the past 28 years told ABC-7 the world has lost a "grand artist and a great friend."

Lazaro Megret, with Latino Events, said his phone rang around noon Sunday. "I was at the Don Haskins Center. I remember everybody was mounting the sound, the light when we learned he had passed away. For 20 minutes, we were in shock. Everybody was crying and talking to each other, and then 20 minutes later, we started taking everything down and packing it up."     

Alberto Aguilera Valadez, aka Juan Gabriel, was dead and 18 concerts cancelled. Megret said Juan Gabriel was more than just a performing artist, he was an industry.

"He hired more than 80 people: singers, musicians, and dancers," Megret said, "Plus about 20 technicians. You're talking about 100 people. 100 jobs. These people don't have a job anymore."

Megret said the people who worked for Juan Gabriel "have not only suffered a personal loss, but also their income."

Juan Gabriel sold 100-million albums worldwide during his 45 year career. Many of the hundreds of songs he wrote are performed in English, French, Italian and Portuguese.

"The one he wrote for the millenium, I believe that this is the most beautiful song because of what he said: 'hold me hard, remember God forgives you. Time does not,'" Megret said when asked what his favorite Juan Gabriel song is.

Time and disease caught up with the iconic Mexican singe, who suffered a massive heart attack in California hours before he was to perform in El Paso.
        
"He looked heavier and when he sat down he couldn't breathe," Megret said.
     
Funeral services haven't been announced, but Juan Gabriel wanted to be buried in Paracuaro, Michoacan, where he was born; or in his adoptive home of Juarez.

How should the Borderland say goodbye to "El Divo de Juarez?"  "I would collect the 10 best mariachis and I would have all the mariachis playing his songs," Megret said, "I would do it at the Sun Bowl so everybody can go there and see him and play all his music. I would invite all the people that sang his songs."

Juan Gabriel was a generous philanthropist and had a special place in his heart for orphans. In 1987, he founded an orphanage in Juarez which the city has been running for many years.