Johnny Ventura, iconic merengue singer, has died aged 81 in the Dominican Republic after suffering a heart attack

Iconic merengue singer Johnny Ventura died on Wednesday at the age of 81 in his native Dominican Republic after suffering a heart attack.

Ventura’s son Johnny Ventura confirmed that CNN the death of his father.

Dubbed the Elvis of the merengue, Ventura had won six Latin Music Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award he received in 2006.

RIP: Iconic merengue singer Johnny Ventura died Wednesday at age 81 in his native Dominican Republic after suffering a heart attack. He was caught in Las Vegas in 2019

He was also involved in politics, having served as the mayor of Santo Domingo from 1998 to 2002, after serving as vice mayor from 1994 to 1998.

The late singer, whose real name was Juan de Dios Ventura Soriano, started his career as a teenager and participated in multiple talent shows.

His fame rose in the early 1960s when he worked with a number of different artists in Santo Domingo, including Rondón Votau’s orchestra, percussionist Donald Wild’s band, Combo Caribe De Luis Pérez, and Papa Molina’s La Super Orquesta San José, according to rolling stone.

He eventually embarked on a solo career with the Johnny Ventura y su Combo Show, which had hits such as El Elevador, Merenguero Hasta la Tambora, Patacon Pisao and Pitaste.

Stalwart: Ventura, captured in 2016 in Las Vegas, achieved success in music and politics

Stalwart: Ventura, captured in 2016 in Las Vegas, achieved success in music and politics

Achieved: Ventura, dubbed the Elvis of the merengue, had won six Latin Music Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award he received in 2006

Achieved: Ventura, dubbed the Elvis of the merengue, had won six Latin Music Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award he received in 2006

Charming: The merengue legend was captured performing in New York City in 1995

Charming: The merengue legend was captured performing in New York City in 1995

Ventura would play alongside 1960s salsa artists such as Celia Cruz, El Grupo Niche and Wilfrido Vargas when they moved to New York later in the decade.

A number of people took to social media with memorials praising Ventura’s legacy, including Raquel Arbaje Soni, the First Lady of the Dominican Republic.

She tweeted: “Today is a very sad day for merengue and for the Dominican Republic. Johnny Ventura, mayor of El Caballo, has physically left us, but his legacy and joy will always be with us. My solidarity hug for your loved ones.’

On stage: Ventura was seen in San Juan, Puerto Rico in November 2019

On stage: Ventura was seen in San Juan, Puerto Rico in November 2019

Ventura performed with Milly Quezada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on November 16, 2016

Ventura performed with Milly Quezada at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on November 16, 2016

New York Representative Adriano Espaillat tweeted: “Johnny Ventura was a good friend – he was a man of his word, a man of endless talent, a national treasure and an icon of the Dominican community.

Espaillat, who in 2016 became the first Dominican-American to be elected to Congress, continued: “My heart breaks now that he is gone, but his spirit must – and will – live on. Rest in power, brother.’

One user wrote that Ventura’s passing was “a great loss to the legacy of the Dominican Republic’s contributions to music,” adding: “Play some classics today. This one hurts.’

The singer leaves behind wife Nelly Josefina Flores, seven children, 17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, NBC News reported.

Notable political names such as Raquel Arbaje Soni, the First Lady of the Dominican Republic and New York Representative Adriano Espaillat expressed condolences

Notable political names such as Raquel Arbaje Soni, the First Lady of the Dominican Republic and New York Representative Adriano Espaillat expressed condolences

A number of fans shared fond words from the internationally acclaimed musical artist

A number of fans shared fond words from the internationally acclaimed musical artist

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