Jimmy Gonzalez of Tejano legends Grupo Mazz has died at a San Antonio Hospital. He was 67 years old. KIII TV reports that Gonzalez had been hospitalized at the Methodist Hospital in the city due to low blood sugar, Gonzalez had diabetes. His death was announced just before 10 a.m. on June 6. It was later confirmed that Gonzalez’s cause of death was a heart attack.
Gonzalez was a native of Brownsville, Texas. Speaking to the Brownsville Herald, Eloy Leija, the promotions manager for Gonzalez’s label, Freddie Records, said, “It just happened this morning. His heart stopped and they brought him back to life… It’s (his death) is going to be a big blow to the company. We are the only ones with the Tejano music. It’s a big blow losing someone like Jimmy Gonzalez.” Grupo Mazz released ten albums under the Freddie Records label.
Univision reports that a vigil will be held for Gonzalez at 7 p.m. on June 6 in Market Square in Brownsville. Funeral plans have not yet been made public.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Band Won the Best Tejano Album 4 Years in a Row at the Latin Grammys
Gonzalez is best known as the lead singer and guitarist for Grupo Mazz. Between 2001 and 2004, the band won the Best Tejano Album Latin Grammy Awards. In addition, Gonzalez was known for his time with Joe Lopez y El Grupo Mazz. Gonzalez split from Lopez in 1998, with Gonzalez retaining the Grupo Mazz name and Lopez starting Joe Lopez y La Nueva Imagen Mazz, via the Herald.
Lopez was later jailed for the molestation of a 13-year-old relative in November 2006. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. Gonzalez told Magic Valley when Gonzalez began his prison sentence, “Although, Joe is a good man and has been a great friend, times can change a man. I have talked to Joe on several occasions after the incident occurred and he claims to be innocent. As a friend, I have to respect his words.”
The group first got together in 1978 in Brownsville.
The Corpus-Christi Caller-Times reports that during the 1990’s, the band played in front of 50,000 fans in Monterrey, Mexico, on two separate occasions.
KRIS-TV report that Gonzalez had been scheduled to perform at a festival in Aransas Pass on the weekend after his death. In addition, My San Antonio reports that Gonzalez was due to perform in the city at KXTN’s 30th-anniversary party on June 15 and 16. His band released an album in April 2018, Porque Todavia Te Quiero, which went at No. 2 on the iTunes Latino chart, reports the Houston Chronicle.
2. Gonzalez Was Rushed to a Local Hospital Back in February 2018
Back in February 2018, Univision reported that Gonzalez had been hospitalized after suffering breathing problems. He was later diagnosed with the flu. During that hospitalization, Gonzalez was rushed to the emergency room in the middle of a performance at the Rio Grande Valley in Mission, Texas. His wife, Lisa, issued a statement to Univision in the immediate aftermath of the hospitalization, “Hi everyone. Just wanted to let you know that Jimmy is doing better today. He’s home resting and wishing the Cowboys were playing today. Lol. He loves and appreciates all of the prayers and well wishes. Thank you all so much. You will be hearing from him soon. God Bless.”
A week later, Gonzalez released a video on Facebook where he thanked his fans for their thoughts and prayers. The singer said, “Thank you for all your prayers! I’m ready for the Tejano Love Jam, Anniversary or whatever you want it to be with your loved one! Tomorrow night in San Antonio at the San Antonio Events Center. See you all there!”
3. Gonzalez Was Using a Mobility Scooter Following a Health Issue in 2008
Gonzalez suffered a health scare in November 2008 when he was rushed to a Corpus Christi hospital following sugar and blood pressure problems, reported the Brownsville Herald at the time. A few weeks after that issue, the Mid-Valley Town Crier reported that Gonzalez was now using a mobility scooter to get around. The singer told the newspaper, “I couldn’t make it on the stage anymore. I don’t know how I lasted that long. I was just over-worked. I needed like a tune-up.”
The Houston Chronicle’s tribute to Gonzalez says that the singer was known for sitting during live performances in his later career.
4. Gonzalez Celebrated His 19th Wedding Anniversary With Wife Lisa a Month Before His Death
The Mid-Valley Town Crier article mentions that Gonzalez was using his mobility scooter to “get to outdoor exercise session with his wife Lisa.” On May 1, the couple celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary. The singer wrote on Facebook, “Happy 19th anniversary to my lovely wife Lisa G. I love you with all my heart. Today we celebrate our day and a lifetime to come. I love you.” According to her Facebook page, Lisa Gonzalez served as her husband’s office manager and personal assistant.
In December 2003, Gonzalez was accused of neglecting his five children from a previous marriage to Yolanda Solis, reports the Brownsville Herald. Solis claimed that Gonzalez owed her $245,699 in child support, but that amount was later reduced to $52,499 by a judge. Gonzalez told the Herald, “I have always taken care of my kids. They have always been my first priority.”
5. Fans & Colleagues Have Taken to Twitter to Mourn Gonzalez
Speaking to the Caller-Times, Dan Pena, the program director of KSAB Tejano, said, “Jimmy was a big draw and this will hurt the Tejano music industry but we’ll never stop playing his music. He was one of Tejano music’s core artists and I know his music will live on. He is definitely going to be missed.” Latin Grammy winner Juan Trevino told the Houston Chronicle, “It’s a sad day for the Tejano industry and for Texas music. We lost a true icon. He created a unique sound that set Mazz apart from everyone else. ‘Til this day, if you hear the intro to any of their songs on the radio, you would immediately say, ‘That’s Mazz.'”
Meanwhile, some of Gonzalez’s biggest fans, as well as his musician colleagues, have taken to Twitter to mourn the singer. Here are some of the most poignant tributes: