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Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez (September 30, 1946 – June 29, 1993), better known as Héctor Lavoe, was a Puerto Rican salsa singer. Lavoe was born and raised in the Machuelito sector of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Early in his life, he attended a local music school and developed an interest inspired by Jesús Sánchez Erazo. He moved to New York City when he was 17 years old. On his first week living in the city, he worked as the vocalist of a sextet formed by Roberto García. During this period, he performed with several other groups, including Orquesta New York, Kako All-Stars, and the Johnny Pacheco band.

In 1967, Lavoe joined Willie Colón's band and performed as the band vocalist. With the Willie Colón band, Lavoe recorded several hit songs, including "El malo" and "Canto a Borinquen". While working with the Willie Colón band, Lavoe became addicted to drugs and began to habitually be late when scheduled to perform with the band. Colón eventually decided to not work with Hector on stage but they still remained good friends and made music in the studio together. Lavoe moved on to become a soloist and formed his own band, where he performed as lead vocalist. As a soloist Lavoe recorded several hits including "El cantante", "Bandolera" and "El periódico de ayer" ("El Cantante" was composed by Ruben Blades, "Bandolera" by Colón and "Periódico" by Tite Curet Alonso.) During this period he was frequently featured as an invited vocalist in the Fania All Stars, and recorded numerous tracks with the band.

In 1979, Lavoe underwent a deep depression and sought the help of a high priest (of the Santería faith) to attend to his drug addiction. After a short rehabilitation, he relapsed following the deaths of his father, son and mother in law. These events, along with being diagnosed with HIV, affected Lavoe to the point of attempting suicide by jumping off the balcony of a hotel room. Lavoe survived and recorded an album before his health began failing. Lavoe died on June 29, 1993, from a complication of AIDS.


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