The late Celia Cruz, superstar Ricky Martin and rising star Juanes were the top winners at the 2004 Billboard Latin music awards, with honors in three categories each.

The late Celia Cruz, superstar Ricky Martin and rising star Juanes were the top winners at the 2004 Billboard Latin music awards, with honors in three categories each.

Cruz, whose death last July was followed by an avalanche of chart-topping albums, won the top Latin albums artist of the year award. She also earned honors for top Latin greatest hits album, for "Hits Mix"; and tropical album, female, for "Regalo del Alma" (both on Sony).

"Regalo," released a few weeks after Cruz's death, is the legendary artist's final studio album. She recorded the set during the last stages of her battle with cancer.

Martin won Latin pop album of the year, male, for "Almas del Silencio" (Sony), his first Spanish-language album in five years. "Tal Vez," the album's lead single, was honored as hot Latin track of the year and Latin pop airplay track of the year.

Venezuelan Franco de Vita, a finalist in the songwriter of the year category, penned Martin's winning song. De Vita also wrote last year's Latin pop airplay track of the year, male, Chayanne's "Y Tu Te Vas."

Juanes was this year's top songwriter. The Universal artist scored several radio hits off his album "Un Dia Normal." These included "Fotografia," a duet with Nelly Furtado, which won two honors: Latin pop airplay track of the year, duo; and hot Latin track of the year, vocal duo.

The awards, which aired live on the Telemundo network from the Miami Arena in Miami, featured performances by La Ley, Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Fernández, Gloria Estefan and Don Omar, among others.

Iconic Mexican group Banda El Recodo was honored with the Billboard Hall of Fame Award, recognizing the band's 65 years of active professional life. Singer/songwriter Soraya was honored with the Billboard Spirit of Hope Award for her work advocating awareness and a cure for breast cancer.

Other multiple winners included newcomers Akwid and Lunnytunes & Noriega, with two awards each. Regional Mexican group Conjunto Primavera also won two awards, including Latin tracks artist of the year. Rudy Perez nabbed the producer of the year award for the second year in a row and the third time in the past four years.

The BLMAs honor the most popular albums, songs and performers in Latin music, as determined by the actual sales and radio airplay data that are used in compiling the weekly Billboard charts.

This year's awards cover the issues dated Feb. 15, 2003, to Feb. 7, 2004. Finalists and winners reflect the performance of new recordings on the Billboard sales charts -- including Top Latin Albums -- and radio charts -- including Hot Latin Tracks -- with album categories confined to titles that did not chart before the Nov. 16, 2002, issue of Billboard. Finalists from last year's BLMAs are excluded.

For a complete list of winners, please go to Billboard.com.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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