As 2012 comes to a close, we take a look at the Latinos who lost their lives, but not before touching the hearts of so many. They will be remembered and they will be missed.
Jenni Rivera: The beloved Mexican-American singer and reality show star died in December when a plane carrying her and some members of her team crashed after leaving Monterrey, Mexico. “La Diva de la Banda” was 43 and left behind five children who remembered her at a special memorial attended by thousands of her fans.
Hector “Macho” Camacho: Another untimely passing came when this Puerto Rican boxing legend died from injuries sustained after being shot outside a bar in November in Puerto Rico. He may have been overshadowed in his sport by longtime foil, Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez, but Camacho, known for his flair and flamboyance, will be remembered for spanning two eras and winning over a legion of fans.
Victoria Soto and Ana Grace Marquez-Greene: They may not have been celebrities, but Soto and Marquez-Greene, who died in the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, were mourned and will be remembered as if they were. Soto, the beautiful young teacher who gave her life to save her children. Marquez-Greene, the little girl who at 6 years old was only embarking on her life. Their deaths along with two dozen others have thrust the issue of gun control into a national conversation.
She was beloved because of her approachable, down to earth nature, and the dignity which she tried to infuse into any role she played. The church was packed with fans and tributes because everyone continues to love her. Today they will bury her with a chorus of mariachis and more much deserved accolades from the Latino community.
Chavela Vargas: You might know her from her songs, or from her rendering of “La Llorona” in the iconic film “Frida.” Chavela Vargas, a bohemian singer of “rancheras,” came out as homosexual and defied tradition by singing onstage dressed in men’s clothing and smoking a cigar. In her autobiography in 1981, she wrote, “Homosexuality doesn’t hurt – what hurts is when you’re treated like you have the plague because of it.”
Yomo Toro: He was part of the world-famous Fania All-Stars and renowned for playing the Puerto Rican cuatro guitar. Yomo Toro’s salsa career was truly expansive, as he appeared in over 150 albums and over 20 solo albums. He passed away in New York in June, from kidney failure.
Carlos Fuentes: Mexican novelist and essayist Carlos Fuentes died this year at the age of 83. Long recognized as one of the foremost contributors to Latin American literature, with highly-acclaimed works like “The Old Gringo and The Death of Artemio Cruz,” Fuentes was also politically active and once served as the Mexican Ambassador to France. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon took to Twitter in May, calling Fuentes “beloved” and “admired.”