Founder and director of Fania Johnny Pacheco dies at 85

Salsa music trailblazer passed away after being hospitalized with pneumonia

By The Star Staff

The founder and musical director of the Fania Records label, Johnny Pacheco, passed away Monday in New York.

“A thousand thanks for all the prayers from him and all the love that you always gave him,” said the musician’s family in a press release on their social networks, where they confirmed his death and asked for some time and prayers to face the hard moment. The artist was hospitalized in New York due to pneumonia.

Pacheco is considered a legend, one of the most influential figures in Latin and Caribbean music. With more than twenty albums and multiple awards, Pacheco founded with Jerry Masucci what would become the famous band Fania All Star, where figures such as Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Pete “El Conde” Rodríguez, Héctor Lavoe, Eddie Palmieri, Héctor Casanova, Ray Barreto, Willie Colón and Bobby Valentín, among others, excelled in their careers to stardom.

Juan Azarías Pacheco Kiniping, the artist’s first name, was born 85 years ago in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. As a musician, composer, arranger, director and producer, he is considered the creator of the musical concept “salsa” applied to rhythms born in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, mainly from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and that has its foundation rhythmic and origin -as a direct heir- in the guaracha.