José Padilla, one of the architects of the Balearic sound whose chillout sets were the soundtrack to countless Ibiza sunsets, died Sunday (Oct. 18) after a months-long battle with colon cancer. He was 65.
Padilla passed away “peacefully in his sleep” on his beloved island of Ibiza, reads a statement posted on the late artist’s social channels.
“Now he has gone and the sunset in Ibiza will never be the same without him,” the message continues, “but the beautiful music of Jose Padilla will stay with us forever.”
The celebrated Spanish DJ and producer traveled from his hometown Barcelona to Ibiza in 1975, where he would later settle in for his legendary Café Del Mar residency and forge a reputation as the godfather of chill-out music.
Padilla’s sunset mixes spawned the popular Café del Mar compilation albums, which have sold more than six million copies around the globe, according to his reps.
As a producer, Padilla cut remixes for Norah Jones, Chris Rea and others, he would take his tunes to clubs and parties around the globe, and he counted Madonna among his fans.
His first artist album, 1998’s Souvenir, went on to earn a Latin Grammy nomination for best instrumental work.
As his health deteriorated in recent months and the pandemic saw his income dry up, Padilla launched a GoFundMe. “My situation is very bad,” he wrote in a post July 5. He later underwent surgery and on Aug. 21 updated his supporters with the news that he was “starting on the long road to recovery.”
The electronic music world paid tribute to the late chill-out master.
Legendary British DJ Carl Cox described Padilla as “a friend, and a true legend of Ibiza,” while fellow Brit Rob da Bank recounted how “Jose made me cry with a beautifully synced sunset… he made so many moments like that for people.”
Rest in Paradise, José Padilla. 🙏
Thank you for everything you did for Ibiza, and beyond. You will stay with us forever…
Adiós, maestro. 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/zofzZoL9f7
— Defected Records (@DefectedRecords) October 19, 2020
José Padilla chilled a generation of clubbers and his art touched the lives of millions. He will always be remembered as the Godfather of Chillout, creator of Café del Mar compilations, and true Ibiza Legend. 🌅 pic.twitter.com/KRtMluYkQv
— Café del Mar (@CafedelMar_Ibz) October 19, 2020
RIP José Padilla. 🙏
Pioneer of the Balearic sound, and the legend behind Café del Mar. 🌅 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/Lb7B6YGm7f
— Ministry of Sound (@ministryofsound) October 19, 2020
So sad to hear about Jose Padilla passing.. he was a massive influence on me as a DJ from the first time @graphite1 took me to the Cafe Del Mar and Jose made me cry with a beautifully synced sunset… he made so many moments like that for people … RIP Jose xx pic.twitter.com/aqcURwmY9N
— Rob da Bank (@RobdaBank) October 20, 2020
So very sad to hear about josé Padilla, was a founder of the Balearic sound at the Café del Mar… I remember remixing one of his tracks a long way back…. 2020 is quite the year……😞. RIP
— Chicane // Nick B (@NickChicane) October 19, 2020
RIP Jose Padilla, your final sunset has set, may you rest in peace and your music live on maestro. I've played so many of your tracks at the Cafe Del Mar, you've truly been such an inspiration in my sets there. I bid you safe travels on your next journey.https://t.co/4X9KwP608K
— Graham Sahara (@grahamsahara) October 19, 2020