Salsa singer Lalo Rodríguez, known for the 1998 hit “Ven devórame otra vez,” has died. He was 64 years old.
Rodríguez was found dead on Tuesday (Dec. 13) at a public housing project in his native Puerto Rico, police said, according to The Associated Press.
Authorities stated that there were no visible signs of violence, and that an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death. The singer had struggled for years with drug and alcohol problems and had been charged with cocaine possession, the AP reported.
Born on May 16, 1958, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the artist — whose legal name was Ubaldo Rodríguez Santos — began singing as a child at festivals and radio and television shows in Puerto Rico. At age 15, in the ’70s, he joined Eddie Palmieri’s band. He recorded Palmieri’s Grammy-winning albums Sun of Latin Music and Unfinished Masterpiece as lead vocalist before launching his solo career in 1980.
“It is with deep sadness that I learn of the death of Lalo Rodríguez,” Palmieri wrote on Twitter along with a photo of the two. “I don’t need to tell you how much he has meant to me, our music and culture, and the global community. He was a giant in so many ways. We will miss him dearly and treasure his memory.”
In 1988, Rodríguez released his biggest hit, “Ven devórame otra vez”, which was part of his album Un Nuevo Despertar. Written by the Dominican Palmer Hernández, the song became a classic of romantic salsa with its famous chorus: “Devórame otra vez, ven, devórame otra vez / Ven, castígame con tus deseos, más / Que el vigor lo guardé para ti, ay, ven / Devórame otra vez, ven, devórame otra vez / Que la boca me sabe a tu cuerpo / Desesperan mis ganas por ti”.
On the Billboard charts, the song reached No. 10 on Hot Latin Tracks. In 1990, a version by Spanish female duo Azúcar Moreno also made the list, peaking at No. 9. And in 2004, the song reappeared in the voice of Charlie Cruz, who reached No. 10 on the Latin Tropical Airplay.
In 2018, “Ven, devórame otra vez” was included among Billboard’s top 15 salsa songs of all time.