Iconic Dominican singer merengue legend Johnny Ventura has died of a heart attack at the age of 81.
According to a medical report, Ventura fell ill yesterday while having lunch in the northern city of Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. Transported to the Unión Médica del Norte Clinic, in the province of Santiago, north of the capital Santo Domingo, he did not respond to resuscitation attempts.
Ventura, whose career spanned six decades, became famous after forming a merengue and salsa orchestra called "El Combo Show," says the BBC. The band was considered one of the most significant groups in the musical history of the Caribbean nation.
Luis Abinader, president of the Dominican Republic, declared three days of mourning after Ventura's death, announcing that the singer - known affectionately as "El Caballo Mayor" - will posthumously receive military honors.
The artist has made more than 100 albums in his long musical career and has received six Latin Grammys. He later pursued a career in politics, becoming mayor of the capital Santo Domingo.