NEW YORK (AP) — Salsa idol Johnny Pacheco, who was a co-founder of Fania Records, Eddie Palmieri’s bandmate and backer of music stars such as Rubén Bladés, Willie Colón and Celia Cruz, died Monday. He was 85. He had been hospitalized in New York a few days earlier for pneumonia, his wife, Maria Elena “Cuqui” Pacheco, said on the artist’s Facebook account.
Fania Records tweeted that the musician was “the man most responsible for the genre of salsa music. He was a visionary and his music will live on eternally.” In a post on his social media, Blades said that “Pacheco leaves us with an important musical legacy, represented by all the collaborations he made during his distinguished career.
Singer Marc Anthony lamented the loss of Pacheco, calling him “maestro of maestros” and a good friend. “Your sense of humor was contagious and I am forever grateful for your support, for the opportunity to be in your presence and for your amazing legacy,” Anthony wrote.