Latin Singer Soraya Dead At 37
Singer/songwriter Soraya, one of the first artists to write and record in both English and Spanish, has died, Billboard has learned. She was 37.Singer/songwriter Soraya, one of the first artists to write and record in both English and Spanish, has died, Billboard has learned. She was 37.
Although details were not clear at deadline, published reports and sources say the Latin Grammy winner died this morning (May 10) in Florida. The singer had been battling breast cancer for several years and was a spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Sources say she relapsed at the beginning of the year.
Soraya, whose mother, aunt and grandmother died of breast cancer, was diagnosed with stage three of the disease in June 2000, just as she was finalizing a new album with Universal Music Latino. She successfully underwent treatment and returned to a new record deal with EMI. Her 2003 album, the self-produced "Soraya," won her the first ever Latin Grammy for best singer/songwriter album.
A soulful singer whose music ranged from romanticism to social conscience, Soraya, born in Colombia but raised in the Untied States, launched a promising career in the late 1990s by mixing Spanish and English. A charismatic performer, from the onset, she was able to open concerts for the likes of Sting even as her songs topped the Billboard Latin Pop airplay charts. Soraya went on to become one of the most acclaimed female voices in Latin pop and rock.
Soraya's illness, compounded with her family history of the disease, led her to become a tireless advocate in the fight against cancer. In 2004, Billboard honored her with its Spirit of Hope Award for her tireless work to raise awareness on the prevention and cure of breast cancer in the Hispanic community.
"Basically my life is split in three," Soraya told Billboard at the time. "My music career. My life. And my third part is this [the fight against breast cancer]. It’s a full time job." Soraya released her last album in 2005.
This week, prior to her death, she posted a goodbye letter to fans on her Web site. "I know there are many questions without answers, and that hope doesn’t leave with me, and above all, that my mission does not end with my physical story," she wrote.
A funeral service in Soraya's honor will take place in Miami, details of which have not yet been announced.