Mexico’s legendary “Singing cowboy” dies at 64

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Joan Sebastian at the Pepsi Center in 2009.
Joan Sebastian at the Pepsi Center in 2009. © Julio Enriquez Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Famous Mexican singer-songwriter Joan Sebastian, famed for playing guitar and singing while riding a horse on stage, has died at the age of 64.

Sebastian, who was one of the best-selling Latin musicians, died on July 13 at his ranch in Juliantla, Mexico. At the time of his death, he had two number-one albums on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart and seven top ten songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart in the United States.

The death of Sebastian, born José Manuel Figueroa Sr, was announced by his family. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer in 1999.

Sebastian won seven Latin Grammy Awards and five Grammy Awards, making him the most awarded Mexican performer in Grammy history.

He wrote more than a thousand songs and recorded 37 albums. Sebastian was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

During some of his performances, he would ride on stage and perform equestrian feats while he sang and played guitar. Sebastian became known as El Rey del Jaripeo, the Rodeo King.

He was advised by doctors to stop performing on horseback after he was diagnosed with cancer, but carried on anyway. In 2011, he broke four ribs in a fall from a horse on stage.

Joan Sebastian, who changed his first name from Juan on the advice of his sister, a numerologist, is survived by six of his eight children.

The below video show a performance by Joan Sebastian, which starts about 4 minutes in.

Joan_Sebastian2

4 thoughts on “Mexico’s legendary “Singing cowboy” dies at 64

  • July 17, 2015 at 6:03 pm
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    Would love to see a video of him riding and singing.

    Reply
    • July 17, 2015 at 7:36 pm
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      Your wish is my command – a video has been added!

      Reply
    • July 18, 2015 at 3:53 am
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      The video is right there. He starts riding at about 4 minutes, but the earlier part is very good also.

      Reply
  • September 14, 2015 at 7:53 am
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    Would love to hear the yodeling stop.

    Reply

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