MONTEREY PARK ( — Fans of Mexican music superstar Juan Gabriel paid their final respects Tuesday in Monterey Park and Mexico City.

“We’ve listened to it in my family for years, when my mother passed away, we played all his music, when they were lowering her to the ground,” Gloria Vite said. “When I hear it I cry,”

The St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church honoring Gabriel wasn’t chosen for this service for any particular reason. The community here simply wanted a way to share their love for the music legend and make sure his memory lives on.

“I saw him back in ’73 when he was a youngster like me, when I was a youngster,” Vite said.

The ashes of Gabriel are now in Mexico City where thousands of fans lined the streets to pay their respects.

The ashes arrived at the Palace of Fine Arts for a two-day memorial.

Gabriel, 66, whose international popularity spanned multiple generations, died of a heart attack Aug. 28 at his home in Santa Monica.

His death came less than three days after he performed a two-hour set at the Los Angeles Forum as part of his sold-out “MeXXico Es Todo Tour.”

Watch: Gabriel’s Ashes Arrive in Mexico City


Gabriel, whose real name was Alberto Aquilera Valadez, wrote more than 1,500 songs that combined the genres of mariachi, ranchero and norteno. He sold more than 100 million copies worldwide in a career dating back to the 1970s and was known for his powerful ballads and a commanding stage presence punctuated by often-flamboyant costumes.

The six-time Grammy nominee was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1996, was named the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year in 1995 and in 2009 was celebrated as the Latin Recording Academy’s Person of the Year.

He is survived by four children including one who served as his manager, Ivan Aguilera.

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