Salsa music legend Jose Cheo Feliciano, 78, was killed Thursday in a traffic accident in his native Puerto Rico, police there said.
The singer, who inspired a love of the up-tempo dance music in generations of musicians and fans, was also considered a master of the more leisurely bolero style of dance music popular on the island.
Puerto Rico s Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced that the US territory would observe three days of mourning to mark the passing of one of its most acclaimed voices.
The head of transit police on the island, Jorge Hernandez Pena, told a local newspaper that the singer died when his car struck an electric pole on a road in Puerto Rico s capital city of San Juan.
He lost control on the curve and took the impact when he hit a fixed object at around 0800 GMT Thursday, Hernandez told the El Nuevo Dia daily.
Hernandez added that Feliciano was not wearing a seat belt at the time, and that he was killed when his head hit the windshield of his green Jaguar sports car.
Local television showed footage of the car with its front end totally demolished from the crash.
News of the famed salsero s death traveled quickly via social media, with laments and expressions of disbelief posted on Twitter.
I am crying for a brother who has departed before we did, Venezuelan writer Oscar D Leon wrote in a Spanish language tweet.
Almighty God, receive my brother Cheo Feliciano into your kingdom, D Leon wrote.