Johnny Ventura, Dominican merengue singer, dies at 81

Johnny Ventura, Dominican merengue singer, dies at 81
Dominican merengue singing star Johnny Ventura dead at 81

The legendary Dominican merengue singer, Juan de Dios "Johnny" Ventura, has been reported dead.

Ventura's death was confirmed on Wednesday by his family and officials in the Dominican Republic.

He was 81.

Ventura died after suffering a heart attack in the city of Santiago, his son Jandy said.

Dominican President Luis Abinader announced three days of mourning for a man many has come to regard as the greatest singer of merengue, a style of song and dance that originated in the country and is deeply interwoven with its national identity, Reuters report.

"Today each Dominican feels great pain," said Abinader. "Today each one of us is in mourning, but we are sure that his artistic legacy will remain from generation to generation."

He also served a stint as mayor of the Dominican Republic's capital city, Santo Domingo, and was popularly known as "El Caballo Mayor".

Tributes poured in from across the music world in Latin America.

"For your music and legacy, for your smile and example, and for dressing up for a party every morning and teaching us all what merengue is !! Thanks Don Johnny!," famed Dominican musician Juan Luis Guerra wrote on Twitter.

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