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Court Denies Genetic Testing in Juan Gabriel Estate Case

A Los Angeles judge denies a request for DNA testing on Juan Gabriel.

Celebrity deaths often spawn inheritance lawsuits. And after Juan Gabriel’s (real name Alberto Aguilera) sudden death last year, lawsuits and paternity and inheritance claims have followed. 

At least one of those has encountered a legal roadblock after a Los Angeles Superior Court denied a motion seeking DNA paternity testing. 

In the decision handed down Thursday (Aug. 10), judge Brenda J. Penny, Commissioner of the Los Angeles Superior Court, denied Joao Aguilera’s request for genetic testing. 


The decision comes in the wake of a petition filed by Joao Aguilera on July 13, 2017, requesting a court order authorizing the County Coroner’s office to release a portion of Juan Gabriel’s remains for DNA testing. The petition, filed by Joao Aguilera, states that he is Juan Gabriel’s son, and that the fact is noted on his birth certificate. 

In turn, Ivan Aguilera, who is recognized as Juan Gabriel’s son and is the beneficiary of his estate, filed an opposing motion July 28. 

At the time of his death, according to court documents, Juan Gabriel had a Last Will and Testament, dated June 4, 2014, in which Ivan Aguilera is named as the sole beneficiary. 


In a statement provided to Billboard, Ivan Aguilera’s legal firm Loeb & Loeb wrote: “We are pleased that the court rejected and denied Joao Aguilera’s motion, recognizing it as plainly improper and beyond the jurisdiction of any court in the State of California. Ivan Aguilera will continue to do whatever is necessary to honor and give effect to his father Alberto’s clear wishes and instructions, including those contained in his father’s will.”

A copy of the court decision was not available at press time. 

Juan Gabriel died a year ago at 66 years of age whilst on a major U.S. tour.

At the time of his death, Juan Gabriel, already one of Latin music’s biggest superstars, was arguably at the apex of his career, despite his age. 


He ranked at No. 18 on Billboard’s 2015 Money Makers list (just below Ed Sheeran and just above Florida Georgia Line), largely thanks to $11.6 million in touring revenue in 2015. He scored the year’s highest-grossing Latin tour and had the top-selling Latin album, Los Duo, which has moved 131,000 units, according to Nielsen Music.

The week before his death, his latest album, Vestido de Etiqueta: Por Eduardo Magallanes, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart.  In the fall, Telemundo will begin airing a TV series based on his life. 

After his death, different claims have been made to his estate, including from Joao Aguilera and Luis Alberto Aguilera, who both claim to be his children.