Beloved Mexican singer Joan Sebastian, longtime staple on his country’s Top 40 pop charts, died Monday after a lengthy battle with bone cancer.
Also known as El Rey del Jaripeo — the King of Mexican Rodeo — for his love of the sport and his habit of performing on horseback, Sebastian was first diagnosed with the disease in 1999, the Latin Times reports.
After months of speculation during which Sebastian’s son, Julián Figueroa, repeatedly denied rumors of his father’s deteriorating health, Figueroa finally confirmed on the morning show Hoy in April that his father had been hospitalized.
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 jaripeos, the raucous Mexican rodeos whose participants ride bucking bulls or sing astride horses. 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.