Puerto Rican Rapper Mexicano 777 Loses Battle Against Cancer

Courtesy Photo
Mexicano 777's album cover for "Pa' la Kalle, 1972 the Beginning..."

Israel Perales Ortiz, the Puerto Rican rapper known as Mexicano 777, died in his home in Puerto Rico after a two-year battle with throat cancer July 23. He was 43 years old.

Although Mexicano never placed on the Billboard charts, he was well-known in the underground reggaeton and rap scene, collaborating early on with the likes of DJ Playero and Daddy Yankee.

“We fought, we discussed, we shared the stage, we laughed, cried and sang with our hearts this music we are so passionate about,” posted Daddy Yankee on his Instagram account.

Mexicano, whose name was a reference to his stepfather’s nationality, was a hardcore rapper who -- unlike his friends who went for more dance-friendly reggaetón -- tackled gritty themes. He also lived the lifestyle.

Mexicano had served time in prison in 2000 for a gun charge, and at the time of his death, was serving a prison sentence stemming from a domestic violence charge. He was originally sentenced to three-years probation at Hogar Crea, but escaped to avenge the death of his 21-year-old daughter, who was murdered in 2013. Following that incident, his probation was revoked and he was sent to jail. However, he was released from prison early a month ago due to his illness.

Mexicano was originally diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and operated in November of that year. He will be buried in Puerto Rico July 27.