José José, the iconic Mexican singer and songwriter known affectionately as El príncipe de la Canción (Prince of Songs), is survived by his third wife, Sara Salazar. The legend, who was born into a musical family, also leaves behind three children.
The death of the romantic balladeer has been confirmed by numerous news reports from Mexican journalists.
José José died in a hospital in South Florida on September 28, 2019. He had battled pancreatic cancer for several years. “Today, Saturday, September 28, José José died at age 71 in Miami Flo .. Confirmed by his assistant Laura Nuñez,” wrote Televisa Espectáculos on Twitter. Many other sites followed suit. Tributes began to flood into social media.
Jose Jose’s life was one of great highs and lows; a celebrated singer, he had fans in the millions. However, he also weathered alcoholism, family conflicts, and financial issues over the years.
Here’s what you need to know about the singer’s wife and family:
1. Salazar, Who Married Jose Jose in 1995, Was the Icon’s Third Wife & Once Said She Was Here for Him Forever
According to IMDB, the legend had been married to Sara Salazar since 1995. “He was previously married to Anel (Noreña) and Kikis Herrera Calles, the site reports.
José José enjoyed phenomenal success throughout his life. According to Billboard, he “had 20 Hot Latin Songs hits, four reached No. 1, and 15 albums on the Top Latin Albums chart,” and he sold more than 1.8 million albums in the United States.
In 2018, Salazar admitted, according to Quien, that she was living separately from the singer, but denied they were divorcing. She attributed the separation to her own health problems. “There [José José] has the attention of my daughter, of Jimmy, the husband of my daughter who loves him very much, and of Didier, Jimmy’s brother,” she said, according to the publication.
According to Quien, when asked about the possibility of divorce, she said, “The one who invented that does not know me, how do you think that after my husband has done so much for me I am going out with such a thing?” She added: “I always kiss him and say ‘I love you, here I am for you forever.”
2. Jose Jose Left Behind Three Children, Including One With Salazar
IMDB reports that Jose Jose and Salazar had one child together, a daughter. He also had two children with another of his three wives. In addition, Salazar came into the marriage with two children of her own, Monique and Celine, according to People Magazine.
Three times wed by 1995, he was then the father of a 4 month old daughter. Journalist Irving Pineda wrote on Twitter, “José José is survived by his wife Sara Salazar, his children Sarita Sosa (who he had with his current wife), and José Joel and Marisol (who had with Anel Noreña).” IMDB lists the children this way: “Jose-Francisco Ortiz (born 1975), Marysol Estrella Ortiz (born 1982) and Sara Ortiz (born 1995).”
He was married to Natalia Kiki Herrera Calles from 1970 to 1976, according to People Magazine, which added that he was married to Anel much longer – from 1976 to 1990. His son is “also dedicated to singing,” the magazine reported. Of his first daughter, Marysol, People reported in 2018: “Marysol is dedicated to singing and has just become the mother of her first child.”
The family had some serious drama. People Magazine reported in 2018 of Sarita Sosa that “José José’s youngest daughter is now in the eye of the hurricane” because she was accused of kidnapping her father and forcing him to sign papers “to keep the singer’s fortune.”
3. José José Was the Son of Gifted Musicians
José José was born into a family of musicians in Mexico City, and he began singing and playing guitar in his early teens, according to a biography on PeoplePill.com. He focused on serenades.
“He was raised into a Roman Catholic family of gifted musicians,” the site reported, adding that his father José Sosa Esquivel “was an operatic tenor (tenor comprimario)” and his mother, Margarita Ortiz, a classical pianist.
He later “joined a jazz and bossa nova trio where he sang and played bass and double bass,” the site reports, but it was his rendition of “El Triste” in Mexico City in 1970 that was his big breakthrough moment. He was born Jose Sosa, according to the Los Angeles Times.
People Magazine confirmed, “José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz…” is the son of “Margarita Ortiz, piano concert player, and José Sosa Esquivel, who was a renowned Mexican tenor.”
4. Sara Salazar Denied False Death Reports in 2018 & Jose Jose Had a Falling Out With His Son
In 2018, Jose Jose’s wife denied rumors that he had died at that time, telling El Diario in 2018, “That’s a lie, José is slowly recovering. My daughter and I are watching him. They have already started giving him food and medicine. This hospital is very good and has excellent doctors.”
Throughout the years, the singer sometimes had a rocky relationship with his son. According to People Magazine, in a 2008 report, “after a two-year feud filled with accusations and bitter moments, José José and his eldest son José Joel have waved their white handkerchiefs in the air in sign of peace.”
“Last night José Joel went to my house in Miami with his girlfriend and we talked for a while, but we couldn’t keep talking because of my trip,” the singer told the magazine, but he still planned to boycott the son’s wedding. Jose Jose told People that he felt “his ex wife Anel, José Joel and his sister had dragged his name through the mud by making private matters public.”
Despite his great success, Jose Jose had financial problems throughout his life. “On November 2008, his current wife suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage, José stated that the medical bills nearly caused him to go bankrupt,” reported last.fm. He told TV Notas magazine “that he and his family live ‘day by day’ and in 2014, he sold his five-million-dollar house in Coral Gables, Florida and moved to an apartment in Miami,” the site reported.
5. The Singer Confirmed His Cancer Diagnosis in a Moving Video He Shared on Social Media
In 2017, José José confirmed that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to Billboard. The singer’s full name was José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz. All Music described the El Triste singer as a “classically trained vocalist dubbed the ‘Prince of Song,’ one of Mexico’s great balladeers and hitmakers since the 1970s.”
The legendary singer had undergone chemotherapy, telling fans in a video two years ago: “That is the reality of what I’m going through. I want to you to know that aside from the small tumor, I am well. I am ready to take on this new adventure in my life.”
At the time, he was 69 and had been hospitalized. “I want to be the one to inform you guys what is happening in my life and career, like I have been doing all my life,” he says in the video, according to Billboard, which added that he explained doctors found a pancreatic tumor after he started losing weight.
He would live two more years. He was already failing in 2018, though, when he was rushed to a Florida hospital by private jet. At that time, The Miami Herald described Jose Jose as being in “very delicate health” and weighing less than 100 pounds.