Celia Cruz, a Cuban-American singer, rose to become one of the most well-known and influential Latin entertainers of her day. Many years after her death, the National Medal of Arts laureate remains a highly visible figure. Everything you need to know about her is right here.
Celia Cruz Biography
The vocalist, like Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, was born on October 25, 1925, in Havana, Cuba. Her parents, Simón Cruz and Catalina Alfonso, raised her as one of four biological siblings and several cousins and relations.
The girl who would grow up to impact many people with her singing attended Havana’s National Conservatory of Music for her studies. She had previously attended a teacher’s school with the intention of becoming a literary teacher by the time she graduated.
Nevertheless, she managed to escape after placing first in a singing competition, and individuals like her professor and her aunt, who encouraged her to pursue music as a career, long before that.
Celia Cruz, also known as La Guarachera de Cuba, began her official musical career in the 1940s with some early recordings, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that she received the respect she deserved. This was after she joined La Sonora Matancera as a vocalist.
Celia Cruz arrived in the United States in the early 1960s, residing in New York. She would go on to become known as the Queen of Salsa. Incomparable Celia (1958), Azucar Negra (1993), Celia Cruz and Friends: A Night of Salsa (1999), and many others are among her many songs and albums.
Celia Cruz final works before her death were Disfavorable (2002), Homenaje a Beny Moré (2003), and Regalo del Alma (2003), all of which were released after her death.
The Queen of Salsa did more than just music. She also acted in movies like Salón México (1950), Amorcito Corazon (1960), Fires Within (1991), and The Perez Family (1995).
Celia Cruz has had a remarkable musical career in practically every way, winning several honors, including six Grammys, the final two for Best Salsa Album (2004) for her Regalo del Alma, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
President Bill Clinton of the United States awarded her the National Medal of Arts in 1994. It is worth mentioning that, despite not being a naturalized US citizen, she was awarded US citizenship in 1961.
Celia Cruz Family
As previously said, the singer was raised in a family with her parents, direct and indirect relatives. She was one of the eldest of 14 children, thus she naturally assumed responsibility early on. Dolores Ramos, Gladys Bécquer, and Bárbaro Jiménez were her younger siblings.
Gladys Bécquer would go on to sue her husband and others for fraud following her sister’s death, claiming that they had denied her the share of insurance money left to her by her late elder sister.
Celia Cruz Husband
When it came to her marriage, Celia married Pedro Knight Caraballo in 1962. They remained together until her death in 2003. Her spouse and manager was Pedro Knight, who was also a musician.
Despite spending the next 41 years together, the couple would not have children. He died of diabetes in 2007. He had a stroke and dementia before dying four years after his wife.
Celia Cruz Death and Funeral
The Queen of Salsa, known for her unusual sparkly costume style, died in 2003 as a result of complications from brain cancer surgery. She had surgery to remove a brain tumor in December 2002, following which she would return to her music.
However, on July 16, 2003, she was unable to survive a complication following surgery, which resulted in her death after a long and successful life.
After several vigils across the world, including in the United States, Colombia, and Cuba, more than 200,000 people came to pay their respects during her funeral. She was buried in a mausoleum at New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery, where Pedro Knight would come to dwell less than five years later.