President Obama: Juan Gabriel's beloved music transcended borders and generations

Memorial outside Juan Gabriel's home in Juarez, Mexico

EL PASO, Texas - President Barack Obama said Monday the spirit of iconic Mexican singer Juan Gabriel "will live on in his enduring songs."

The singer/songwriter died Sunday at his home in California at age 66, his publicist said.  His last concert was Friday night at the Forum in Inglewood, California. He was scheduled to perform Sunday in El Paso at the Don Haskins Center Sunday.

Juan Gabriel was Mexico's leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist. His ballads about love and heartbreak became hymns throughout Latin America and Spain and with Spanish speakers in the United States.

A six-time Grammy nominee, Juan Gabriel was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1996 and received countless industry awards, including ASCAP Songwriter of the Year in 1995, Latin Recording Academy's Person of the Year 2009, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that same year.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said through his official Twitter account: "I regret the death of Juan Gabriel, one of the great musical icons of our country. My condolences to his relatives and friends."

President Obama released the following statement Monday.

"For over forty years, Juan Gabriel brought his beloved Mexican music to millions, transcending borders and generations. To so many Mexican-Americans, Mexicans and people all over the world, his music sounds like home.  With his romantic lyrics, passionate performances and signature style, Juan Gabriel captivated audiences and inspired countless young musicians. He was one of the greats of Latin music and his spirit will live on in his enduring songs, and in the hearts of the fans who love him."

The Associated Press contributed to this article

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