Salsa legend Cheo Feliciano dies in car wreck


San Juan, Puerto Rico (CNN) - Jose Luis "Cheo" Feliciano, a giant of salsa music and Puerto Rican legend, died in a car crash early Thursday morning in San Juan, police said. He was 78.

Feliciano was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and made a name for himself in New York as a musician and singer for a number of groups.

Considered salsa royalty, Feliciano was awarded a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

The fatal car wreck happened at about 4:13 a.m. Thursday, Puerto Rico police said.

Feliciano lost control of the Jaguar he was driving land crashed into a light pole, police said. He died at the scene.

Police told CNN en Español that the singer was the only person inside the car. The speed he was traveling at was under investigation, police said.

His wife, Coco, told reporters that Feliciano did not like to wear a seat belt.

The singer was diagnosed with a treatable type of cancer last year, and he had undergone cancer treatments.

Puerto Rico's governor declared three days of mourning for Feliciano, who was beloved for his hits such as "Anacaona" and "Amada Mia."

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