Tito Torbellino, a rising singer in banda music, will be remembered during a memorial service in his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz., five days after the regional Mexican entertainer was fatally wounded in northern Mexico during a business meeting inside a restaurant.
The service will take place Tuesday evening at the Celebrity Theater. According to reports, the memorial will cost $5, with proceed going to St. Jude's Hospital.
Published reports indicate that two gunmen shot the artist at close range several times leading to his death while en route to a nearby hospital in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora.
The 33-year-old singer, whose birth name is Tomas Tovar Rascon, was not a major household name, but he was on the cusp of breaking through in a major way. News of Rascon's death rippled through the community of musicians.
Mexican star Larry Hernandez gave an emotional television interview after he heard of the fatal shooting. He spoke about his decade-long friendship with the singer and recalled when the two artists performed together in the early years as they made their rounds in the music business.
"If he's hearing me … I will not disappoint him," Hernandez said, as he wiped his tears away. "I will keep supporting his children."
Hernandez acknowledged that regional Mexican singers in recent years have been targets while performing in Mexico. "I never imagined it was going to be him."
Rascon, who also sings norteño music, has been known to perform romantic music, but he’s also performed around the theme of drug ballads known as narco-corridos. The accordion-based music, rooted in polka as a rhythmic base, has a large following in Mexico and the U.S., and is immensely profitable for musicians who tour and often play at private parties.
Despite the dangers of performing narco-corridos, which are banned throughout Mexico, singers continue to perform the music.
Regional Mexican star Gerardo Ortiz, who was born in Los Angeles, but raised in Mexico, was nearly killed in 2011 after performing in western Mexico. Several men stopped the vehicle he was in and fired their guns. The singer survived, but the driver and his manager were fatally wounded. Ortiz recently returned to Mexico to perform, but he was escorted by major security detail.
Celebrities in recent days have reached out to Rascon’s family through social media to give their condolences. Some of those names include major regional Mexican stars such Espinoza Paz and members of La Original Banda el Limon and Montez de Durango.
"My prayers to Tito Torbellino's whole family, especially to his children," said Janney Chiquis Marin, the daughter of the late Jenni Rivera. "My heart hurts for them."
Rascon had three charting titles on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart. "Te La Pasas" Ft. Espinoza Paz peaked at No. 6 on Feb. 1. "No Eres Tu, Soy Yo!" peaked at No. 23 on April 19. "Cosas Del Diablo" debuted this week at No. 38.
Rascon, who sometimes posed with guns in his photos, took to social media in recent weeks and thanked his fans for their birthday wishes.
"Thanks to God for another year of my life and for everything he has given me," the Rascon wrote on Facebook. "I didn’t think I would get to this age. I promise to be calmer and less carless. Ha ha ha. On my way to Bakersfield to do what I like, singing for my public. The celebration is just starting."