Juan Azarías Pacheco Knipping aka Johnny Pacheco, Dominican-born musician and songwriter, died at the age of 85 on Monday, February 15, in Teaneck, New Jersey, after being hospitalized for pneumonia. His death was confirmed by his wife Maria Elena Pacheco, popularly known as Cuqui, at Holy Name Medical Center.
Johnny had founded Fania Records in 1964 with Jerry Masucci with The New York Times reporting that the label signed "Latin music’s hottest talents of the 1960s and ’70s." These big names included Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, Hector Lavoe and Rubén Blades. Besides co-founding Fania, Johnny was also the leader of salsa’s first supergroup named Fania All Stars that ended up touring the world. Johnny, who is sometimes known as the 'Motown of Salsa', is survived by his wife Cuqui, two daughters, Norma and Joanne; and two sons, Elis and Phillip.
Who is Johnny Pacheco's wife Cuqui Pacheco?
"With great pain in my soul and an emptiness in my heart, I inform you that maestro Johnny Pacheco passed away this afternoon with great peace. A thousand thanks for all your prayers and all the love you always gave him," said Cuqui in a statement published on the musician's official Facebook page. There isn't too much information available about the couple's relationship, but they have been married for a while now. Diario Libre reported that on Sunday, Cuqui had requested a prayer chain and privacy during this hard time.
Before Johnny's death, Cuqui had said this in a statement, "God bless you all. The family of Maestro Johnny Pacheco requests a chain of prayer for his health, who in these days was admitted to an emergency hospital due to pneumonia. To all his fans, colleagues, and friends we ask you not to stop praying for his health. We ask for your privacy at this time. We will keep you informed." Salsa announcer and 'Senior Salsologist', Eugenio Pérez confirmed the news as well and posted two lovely images of the late Johnny - one with Cuqui and another when the legend was younger.
What is Johnny Pacheco's net worth?
Johnny, who was an arranger, producer and composer in addition to the other hats he wore was born on March 25, 1935, in Santiago, Dominican Republic. During his career, he came to be one of the biggest influences on Latin Music and is known to have invented the term 'salsa'. From albums to awards, Johnny never fell short of delivering excellence and has worked with names such as George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Johnny Lytle, Les McCann, McCoy Tyner and Kai Winding.
He was also nominated for Grammy Awards and was the recipient of the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. He also received the ASCAP Silver Pen Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Besides being the father of Salsa music, he also used to play instruments such as percussion, flute and saxophone. As per Celebrity net worth, the record producer's net worth was a whopping $8M.
'He was 85 and playing like he was still in his 20s'
The artist who has clearly left behind a legacy touched many hearts in the music world. Pictures and videos of the father of salsa flooded Twitter with people offering their condolences as many were devastated at the tragic loss. "Yo Rest In Power to one of the baddest Flutist in the world and Salsa pioneer Johnny Pacheco. He was 85 and playing like he was still in his 20s. Travel light to a mothafuckin' legend. #JohnnyPacheco #FANIARecords #FaniaPaSiempre #FaniaAllStars #HardSalsa," wrote one fan. Another added, "Thank you Johnny Pacheco...your music is with us always."
People wrote heartfelt messages about what Johnny left behind when it comes to music, with one fan writing, "Johnny Pacheco zichrono livracha. Discovering your work as a musician, conductor, arranger, and producer changed my life. You helped me to see the strong unbreakable connection between the Latinx and Anglo art forms of our Diaspora. May your memory be a blessing," tweeted a fan. "Oh no. Johnny Pacheco. Crucial contributor to the American music canon. He saw the connection btwn Salsa & rhythms across the African continent. Damn this pandemic b/c we shld be dancing in the streets for the next wk to celebrate him. But we’ll do it from living rooms. #RIL," wrote another fan.