Sergio Vega - known as El Shaka - has been shot dead just hours after he denied reports he had been murdered.

The 40-year-old Mexican singer was shot and killed on Saturday (June 26) while driving his red Cadillac, according to Mexican media. He was on his way to a concert in Sinaloa state.

Hours before the shooting, Vega told the website La Oreja that earlier rumours and reports of his murder had been mistaken. He said he had increased his security measures after the murders of other artists.

Vega was signed to Disa Records, and his latest album, "Quién Es Usted?" peaked at No.29 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart last year. His most recent single, "Millonario de Amor," was beginning to get airplay on the regional Mexican airplay chart last month.

Vega is the latest casualty in a string of high-profile murders that have rocked the regional Mexican music world since the murder of banda singer Valentín Elizalde in November 2006. In the ensuing year, more than 10 regional Mexican musicians were murdered, including Sergio Gomez, leader of duranguense group K-Paz de la Sierra.

The following year, four members of Herederos de Sinaloa were killed in an ambush, and in 2009, the drummer for Conjunto Atardecer was shot to death in an attack that also left four others dead.

Also last year, Juan Carlos Casillas Castañeda, whose company Producciones Esperanza booked and managed regional Mexican artists, was shot to death as he left a wedding.

Most recently, on June 12, in what appears to be a case of random violence, the son of Mexican singer Joan Sebastian was killed in a bar fight. José Sebastian Figueroa was shot by a security guard outside a bar in Cuernavaca. Four years earlier, in August, 2006, another of Sebastian's sons, Trigo Figuero, was shot and killed after a concert by his father in Texas.