Beloved Mexican singer Joan Sebastian, longtime staple on his country's Top 40 pop charts, died Sunday after a lengthy battle with bone cancer.Sebastian was first diagnosed with the disease in 1999, the Latin Times reports.
Sebastian's long struggle with cancer had been a public one: after his initial diagnosis, he fought it off in 2007 and 2012 before a final recurrence in 2014. It was then that he retired from horsey sport -jaripeos. He had no plans to stop performing, however, and announced a valedictory tour called "La Ultima Maroma" (The Final Roping) in February 2014.
Sebastian died on his family's ranch in Juliantla in Guerrero, Mexico.
Joan Sebastian was known for his sentimental love songs, which he often performed on horseback.
After a childhood of poverty in rural Mexico, he decided to dedicate his life to music and went on to have a series of hits, which won him five Grammy awards and seven Latin Grammys.
Born Jose Manuel Figueroa he was often referred to as "The People's Poet" for his lyrical compositions about love and betrayal.
He said he realised he wanted to become a singer at an early age, leaving the Catholic seminary where he was training to become a priest to pursue his musical ambition aged 17.
He was a fan of Mexican bull riding (jaripeo) and often performed at rodeo events, earning him the nickname of King of Jaripeo.
He released more than 50 albums in his career mixing Mexican ranchera music and Latin pop.
Among his most famous songs are Tatuajes (Tattoos) and Secreto de Amor (The Secret of Love). ?TIME