Arts & Entertainment

Mexican ballad singer Joan Sebastian dies at age 64

Singer Joan Sebastian arrives at the 13th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in this November 15, 2012 file photo taken in Las Vegas, Nevada. A representative of Universal Music Latin Entertainment-Fonovisa confirmed Monday, July 13, 2015, that Sebastian has died. He had battled cancer for years.
Singer Joan Sebastian arrives at the 13th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in this November 15, 2012 file photo taken in Las Vegas, Nevada. A representative of Universal Music Latin Entertainment-Fonovisa confirmed Monday, July 13, 2015, that Sebastian has died. He had battled cancer for years.
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Latin Recording Academy

Joan Sebastian, one of Mexico's great ballad singers, died Monday at age 64.

A representative of Universal Music Latin Entertainment-Fonovisa confirmed his death, but did not specify the cause. Sebastian had battled cancer for years.

He was best known for sentimental love songs like "Tatuajes" and "Secreto de Amor," sometimes set to simple guitar arrangements and sometimes sung on horseback.

Sebastian won five Grammy awards and seven Latin Grammy prizes during his career.

He reached nearly the same level of adoration as Vicente Fernandez, the king of Mexico's "ranchero" country-ballad music who outlived him.

Born Jose Manuel Figueroa, Sebastian had eight children with five women. Two of his sons were killed in separate incidents in 2006 and 2010, triggering speculation the singer might have been involved in the drug underworld. He strenuously denied that.

Burial plans were not immediately announced.