Hundreds Of Thousands Mourn Juan Gabriel In Mexico City

By Jorge Valencia
September 06, 2016
Mónica Ortiz Uribe
A photo of a young Juan Gabriel adorns the outside of his home in Ciudad Juárez.
Mónica Ortiz Uribe
Fans gather at Juan Gabriel's home near downtown Ciudad Juárez days after the singer's death.

An estimated half a million people are turning out this week in Mexico City to pay last respects to the legendary Mexican singer Juan Gabriel.

The crowds clogged several blocks of downtown Mexico City on Monday. They sang and waived posters of Juan Gabriel.

Mourners began visiting his ashes at the city’s historic Palace of Fine Arts, while some of his friends played a tribute concert. Fans traveled from several countries. Monica Rodriguez said she flew from Los Angeles for the event.

"I feel like it's sad, but at the same time, he's given us so much music, that you can't help some of them are happy songs to just sing them, remember him and celebrate his life."

Argelia del Rayo took the day off from work, claiming a family emergency.

"For me, it’s like losing a family member," she said in Spanish.

Indeed, over his 40-year career, Juan Gabriel became one of the best-selling artists in Latin American history.

"Can’t you see my eyes, that I’ve been crying?" asked Maria Dolores Arana in Spanish.

She said she’s sad, but relieved to know that, in his music, Juan Gabriel will be with her forever.

Juan Gabriel sold millions of records in the Spanish speaking world and in the United States over more than four years. He died suddenly of a heart attack last week.