LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 05: Singer Juan Gabriel performs during the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center November 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Latin American music icon Juan Gabriel dead at 66
00:58 - Source: CNN

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NEW: A fan who attended Juan Gabriel's last show describes it as "incredible"

Juan Gabriel was scheduled to perform a concert in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday

He led Billboard magazine's Top Latin Albums chart five times in the past 18 months

Los Angeles CNN  — 

Juan Gabriel wooed audiences with soulful pop ballads that made him a Latin American music legend.

For devoted fans around the world, his romantic rancheras were go-to tunes in the soundtracks of their lives.

The 66-year-old music star died in Santa Monica, California, on Sunday morning, two days after a sold-out show and hours before he was set to perform a concert in El Paso, Texas.

A cheering crowd at a Los Angeles arena heard him sing to them onstage for the last time.

Word of the iconic performer’s death sparked an outpouring of condolences from political leaders, rock stars and fans.

Mourners flocked to Gabriel’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to share memories and pay tribute as his music played in the background.

Telenovela of his life story was set to air

Gabriel, whose legal name was Alberto Aguilera Valadez, died of natural causes, Los Angeles County Coroner spokeswoman Selena Barros said.

He had 15 other US tour dates scheduled through early December, and his life story was set to be told in a telenovela airing on Telemundo.

A statement on the singer’s official website announced his death.

“He has gone to become part of eternity and leaves us his legacy through Juan Gabriel, a character he created with the music he sang and performed across this world,” the site said. “Juan Gabriel hasn’t died, as Alberto would say, ‘As long as someone exists who sings my songs, Juan Gabriel will live.’”

Singer Juan Gabriel performs during the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

‘Incredible’ final concert

Fans who attended Gabriel’s final concert in Los Angeles described an electrifying show.

“It was incredible. He played extra, for like 30 minutes,” said Roberto Trebor Jacquez, tears welling in his eyes as he visited Gabriel’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame early Monday.

Gabriel’s music was moving not just because of the notes he sang, he said, but because of what he showed millions of fans.

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“He represents the opportunity we had as Americans, as Latino Americans, because he came here and he just showed us that we could be poor, but we can work hard and we can love each other … His music is a reminder of what’s possible,” Jacquez said. “His music represents what you can actually do.”

Gustavo Rivera, brother of the late Latin music sensation Jenni Rivera, told CNN en Español he felt like he was learning an important lesson as he watched Gabriel onstage Friday.

“When I walked out of there, I said, ‘Now that is a concert,’” he said. “That is a man that knows what he’s doing onstage.”

In Gabriel’s final show, the performer – who also was known for his extravagant fashion choices – wore a silky bright blue shirt. He occasionally sat atop a silver throne with plush cushions as musicians played around him.

At Juan Gabriel's final performance, fans sang along with the beloved Mexican singer.

Daniel Herrera, who shared images of the concert with CNN’s iReport, said he’ll never forget it.

A video Herrera posted online shows Gabriel belting out ballads as people in the crowd sing along and sway their cell phones to the beat.

“I can’t say how much of a blessing and honor it was to see him for his last show,” Herrera said.

5 things you should know about him

100 million records sold

In his 45-year career, Gabriel sold more than 100 million records, according to his website. He also wrote songs for other artists and appeared in the 1975 Mexican film, “Nobleza Ranchera,” and four other movies. His music ranged from rock and pop to Mariachi.