The 4th Annual Latin Grammys at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla., September, 2003, with a tribute to late salsa queen Celia Cruz. (Photo/ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Fans honor Celia Cruz, 10 years after her death

If there was one person who could turn your worst funk into a good funk, it would be Celia Cruz.

Today marks a decade since we lost the Cuban-born, but beloved around the world, “Queen of Salsa” at age 77.  Since her death, she has been remembered with various biographies, TV specials, greatest-hits albums and even a Smithsonian exhibit.

Ten years later, nothing has changed. People all over the world are remembering her fondly.

RELATED: Celia Cruz voted to be in upcoming Smithsonian exhibit

Omer Pardillo, her ex-manager and close friend, remembers her rainy funeral 10 years ago in the Bronx, NY, but he has chosen to keep her memory as lively as she was. He founded The Celia Cruz Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for underprivileged students wishing to study music.

“I’m very proud to be her ex-manager and keep her legacy alive,” says Pardillo who also hosts a weekly radio show “Azucar! Celebrating the legacy of Celia Cruz,” on Sirius XM and represents the estate of Celia Cruz and where her original photographs, records, and shoes are safeguarded.

RELATED: Celia Cruz to be honored at largest Cuban festival in U.S.

Xiomara Laugart, who played Celia in the musical, “Celia: A Musical Journey” in 2007 in New York City, also opened for her in a concert once while she was the singer of the band Yerba Buena.

“She means Cuba, and women to me,” says Laugart, who is Cuban herself.  She feels Celia represented her and other women of color from the island.

Laugart says she will be honoring the salsa legend this August in Chicago at the Festival Cubano by singing “Quimbara.”

“It’s my favorite and a favorite of many people — a song that everybody knows,” says Laugart, with a similar deep voice to that of the late singer. “Everybody is still singing it all around the world. It’s a shame that she’s not here physically, but we are lucky that we have her voice and music even if she’s not here — she’s unforgettable. She’s an icon in a universal way.”

RELATED: Celia All Stars ready to channel Celia Cruz at Festival Cubano

CeliaCruz_Forever on Instagram has more than 10,000 followers posted this today:


Spanish pop singer posted on Twitter:

Fellow Cuban, Mr. Worldwide, also posted on Twitter:

Fania Records tweeted a throwback to 1974:

And LatinaSmart remembers this favorite:

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