Celia Cruz information...

I am looking for information on this great woman. What I have heard so far is gossip and of course its' all bad.

Is it true that she died penniless and that her husband, during the last days of his life had to be "rescued" while hospitalized and transferred to a better medical facility because he did not have enough money to pay for a better hospital?

I also heard that her and her husband had adopted a son and that he was the one responsible for taking all of their money, which was in the millions of dollars.

Like I said this is what I've heard and have no idea whether any of this is true or not but I would like to know what you guys and gals know in terms of her career and how things ended for her and her husband.
Never heard anything like what was stated above. I'd like to focus on her life in the positive sense. Her memory as well as her husband, Pedro Knight, is more important including there contribution to music, culture and humanity is more important than gossip to me.
Celia Cruz did not die penniless! She was still doing very well up to her very unfortunate death.

Her husband, Pedro Knight, remained with the estate just any any spouse does when a spouse passes. He was doing well also.

However, once his health took a turn for the bad, someone close to the family went to his hospital room and convinced him to sign over authorty over the estate. Yes, it was widely reported that this person, whoever he was, did not properly handle the affairs, including those related to Pedro's hospital care. I once knew the name of that person, but I don't recall it at this time.

I have no idea what happened to Celia's wealth once Pedro passed.
The estate of Celia Cruz and its associated wealth remains intact. Pedro did not sign over any control or power of attorney of the estate over to anyone. What took place was that one of the people who started out as President of Celia Cruz's fan club got so close to Pedro and Celia that he somewhat became an unofficial adopted "son" to both of them. While Pedro was sick, this "son" was accused by Celia's long time manager of having spent a good chunk of Pedro and Celia's $$$. It wasn't illegal since Pedro was in fact signing the checks himself, but the manager contested that the "son" was abusing the fact that Pedro was sick and entrusting in the fact that these checks were necessary for whatever reason. Arguing he wasnt' in a position to know the difference between what was necessary and what was not. An investigation ensued as well as a lawsuit againt the "son." It is still pending.

Celia Cruz is buried in one of the most expensive cemetaries in the United States. She is buried alongisde such greats as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and many other notable people such as famous authors, professionals, and artists. She was far from being penniless at the time of her demise. In fact, there is a musical taking place curently off-broadway entitled CELIA featuring the cuban songstress Xiomara Laugart. The estate of Celia Cruz receives monies for the use of her name, image and songs.
Information on Celia Cruz can be found on the website of the Smithsonian Institute under the name of NMAH! Azucar! The Life of Celia Cruz. It contains a lot of information on music, life and work.
TRIVIA: Which was the first female singer of La Sonora Matancera that recommended Celia Cruz as her substitute in 1952?
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To me that is not a difficult question to answer, it was a female singer from Puerto Rico named Myrta Silva, a guarachera. But she was a short period with Sonora Matancera if we compare this with Celia Cruz who made them famous all over the world. During the 1960s and 1970s, the musical director of FANIA Johnny Pacheco used this Cuban conjunto and Celia Cruz to start the so called "salsa-boom".....
good morning, edsel. just dropped the trivia fact to share it with the forum members that are new to Salsa.

as a matter of fact, Johnny Pacheco was never directly related with la Sonora Matancera, neither with Celia in the 60's. it was Tito Puente who recommends her to be signed by Tico in 1966 (before Tico was bought by Fania). after a few years with no prominent LP's, she was reached by Larry Harlow in Mexico to record Hommy's Gracia Divina; this practically brings her back to the spotlight after a live performing of "Gracia Divina" in the Carnegie Hall.

THEN it came Pacheco to offer her to record the notorious "Celia & Johnny" LP (1974). Later he manages to add her in the Fania All Stars. the rest is history.

In 1982, Celia finally "meets" La Sonora Matancera in a recording studio with "Feliz Encuentro" (Barbaro 212), produced by Javier Vazquez (not Pacheco).

Myrta Silva (born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico) has also an impressive career (composer/singer/percussionist/tv host) that goes back to 1939 when she joins Rafael Hernández's Cuarteto Victoria. later, she joined larger bands as Moncho Usera and Armando Castro in the Escambrón Club (Puerto Rico), topping first places in record sales. at that time, she already dominated both guarachas and bolero scenarios as well with her own songs. In 1949, she accepts a tempting offer as the first female singer of La Sonora Matancera, including live performings in Radio Progreso (La Havana). she was widely known in Cuba from 1949 to 1952 just after La Sonora signed the Seeco recording contract.

btw, Celia's full name is Úrsula Hilaria Celia De La Caridad Cruz Alfonso De La Santísima Trinidad.

I think you should do more homework on Pacheco who was involved a long time before, he was with Alegre All Stars, the fact is everyone knows Celia Cruz as "the queen of salsa", and no one else. The book El Libre de la Salsa of Cesar Miguel Rondon is very clear about this. Pacheco used the Sonora Matancera model to change the N.Y. scene and modernised the Cuban Son and Cuban Guaracha with the help of Celia Cruz, Justo Betancourt and Mongo Santamaria, all people with a lot of knowledge of Son, Rumba, Guaracha and Mambo.

In the English version you will find 44 pages with information on the guaracha, inside there are 10 pages on the role of Justo Betancourt on modernising the old Cuban Guaracha and 10 pages on Celia Cruz and the guaracha, John Pacheco and the 'modernised Sonora Matancera" consits of at least 6 pages (p81-p86).

Masucci, Fania, Harlow and others did a lot to popularise this music, but in it's essence it consists of Cuban musical models of 1940s and 1950s...

More to come,
hmm, let's go back. when you talked about "this Cuban conjunto" you were talking about Sonora Matancera or Johnny Pacheco's band after the Charanga fever in the mid 60's?

quoting Pacheco's: "So I started copying Sonora Matancera and then I added the tres and the bongo because of the Chapottin influence." Check it on descarga.com/cgi-bin/db/archives/Interview2

and please, don't take Cesar Miguel's book much further than a reference book when studying Salsa. try cross reference on Google thru different sources so you can confirm any information.
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Pacheco used the Sonora Matancera model to change the N.Y. scene and modernised the Cuban Son and Cuban Guaracha with the help of Celia Cruz, Justo Betancourt and Mongo Santamaria, all people with a lot of knowledge of Son, Rumba, Guaracha and Mambo.
Just to clarify...

Do you mention Celia, Justo and Mongo as part of Pacheco's orchestra in the late 1960's or do you mean them individually?. Celia debut with Pacheco was in 1974 and Justo's in 1971.

How about Monguito, Chivirico Dávila, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez and Héctor Casanova as Pacheco's singers?

The book is interesting on the changes with took place in New york during the 1970s, and Pacheco, Fania, Celia Cruz and others, indeed also Tito Puente were very important, it moves in the Cuban conjunto direction and uses the modernised guaracha and it's fusions very often such as guaracha-guaguanco, guaracha-mambo and so on.

But for me it starts already in the 1960s with Charlie Palmieri and Alegre All Stars and with Eddie Palmieri and La Perfecta with conjunto La Perfecta with Barry Rogers and J. Rodrguez on trombones and a flute...But in the beginning there is not much difference with Cuban conjuntos or charangas....
I like to mention that this threat is about Celia Cruz and her contributions to the salsa music in New york, before the 1970s with Sonora Matancera and in the 1960s and 1970s with Pacheco, Puente, Justo Betancourt and Mongo Santamaria...Furthermore Soneros did sing in Cuba and Puerto Rico for at least 2 centuries. It's about who created this beautiful rhythms, not who popularized them or commercialised them.

Thank you Celia, Viva Cuba.
More to come....

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