As Mexicans and many others mourn the passing of iconic singer Juan Gabriel, the question was in everyone’s minds: What caused Gabriel’s death? How did the Latino star and “Querida” singer die? Juan’s many admirers finally found some comfort when Juan’s official cause-of-death announcement was made by the L.A. County Coroner’s office one day after Gabriel’s death.
Amid fears that the beloved, “legendary singer” may have suffered unnecessarily, and the rumors flying through the crowds that gathered to pay tribute, the announcement, when it finally came, was a relief. Hollywood Life reports that like many men in their sixties, the 66-year-old Gabriel suffered from heart trouble. Juan also had diabetes, and the two conditions together were what killed him.
“Juan Gabriel died due to a combination of heart issues and complications of diabetes.”
There’s no report yet on the kind of diabetes that Gabriel had. There are two types (1 and 2) that have different issues and treatments. Either way, Juan’s age along with his illness and heart problems were a bad health mix.
TMZ was the first to get the news out about Gabriel’s cause of death, and reported that the Coroner’s office said there was no reason to suspect foul play. The official announcement confirmed that Juan died of natural causes, but didn’t indicate what specifically was wrong with his heart, or how the diabetes contributed to his early death.
It was only the day before the cause-of-death announcement on August 29 that Gabriel was found dead in his Santa Monica home, only two days after performing his last show. The sold-out performance at The Forum Los Angeles was part of his “MeXXico Es Todo Tour,” and was to be followed on the very day he died by another show in El Paso, Texas.
“Many, many, have fallen in love with his songs, and many have lived the bitterness and heartbreak of his songs.”
This “incredibly sad day” saw thousands of tweets as fans posted “sweet tributes” to “express their grief” over Gabriel’s sudden, unexpected death. The Washington Post described Gabriel’s influence of his emotional and “prolific” songwriting career. Gabriel was the creator of over 1,000 songs, including for Gabriel’s friend Aida Cuevas, the superstar Mexican singer. His album Recuerdos, Vol. II, sold over 8 million copies to be the all-time best-seller in Mexico.
“We have lost the voice that was the backdrop of our lives.”
Billboard reported that Gabriel’s son, Ivan Aguilera, made an announcement on behalf of the family thanking fans and friends for the support they have received since their father’s death. Aguilera said of Gabriel that he knows his “father will miss entertaining his countless fans, who brought him tremendous joy in life.”
Throughout Gabriel’s life, he was asked over and over again if he was gay. He never answered that question, preferring to keep his own sexual orientation private, but “his charismatic and campy stage-presence made him an iconic figure in the gay community” right up to the end. One Twitter user said that Gabriel transcended, and just was.
Juan Gabriel was a gay icon when being out was tough 70s 80s he transcended he just was, & for a poor latin boy like myself that was enough.— Jump (@TheRework) August 29, 2016
Even though Juan wouldn’t tell fans if he was gay or straight, he had an answer that “will blow you away” when journalists got too pushy, looking for more. The Huffington Post writes that in one of those situations, a journalist asked Gabriel, “Are you gay?” and Juan first tried explaining that people always have assumptions about beautiful men.
“Art is feminine… Look, if you’re handsome and young and beautiful, well, people are always going to say that you’re gay.”
When that wasn’t enough for the reporter, Juan said simply, “They say that what you can see you don’t ask, son.” Many prefer to honor the talent that made Juan a legend, regardless of sexual orientation.
he was unapologetically gay in a homophobic society. his talent won over everyone. he became a legend.https://t.co/mbTJ5YZ85W— Greko Sklavounos (@GrekoSklavounos) August 29, 2016
One Twitter user pointed out that it is a testament to his talent that Juan Gabriel could be so successful in the macho Mexican culture that doesn’t easily accept gay men.
Is a testament to his talent that Juan Gabriel, unapologetically gay, was so succesful and beloved in a very macho culture like ours.— Sofía (@Shantilux) August 28, 2016
Some followers made a connection between the reports that Gabriel was gay, and the assumption that the cause of death must have been AIDS.
The aids finally got Juan Gabriel?— Blanco (@NestAli_) August 28, 2016
Most people are focused on Gabriel’s music, don’t care about his sexuality, and accept the official cause of death.
Listening to Juan Gabriel is giving me life. I'm still so heartbroken about his death. Part of Mexico has died. #RIPJuanGabriel— Diana (@di_anax3) August 29, 2016
[Photo by Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images]