Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee announced Sunday that he is retiring from music after the release of his next studio album and a farewell tour for fans.
In a video addressing fans in Spanish, Daddy Yankee, whose real name is Ramón Ayala, said he would be leaving music after 32 years in the industry.
“If you came to my page, this is what I have to say: this career has been a marathon,” Daddy Yankee, who has widely been known by fans as the “King of Reggaeton," says in the video. “But at last I can see the goal.”
In the video, Daddy Yankee says his career is among his biggest treasures, in part because it has allowed him to inspire other young men to dream beyond the limits they and others may set for them.
“In the barrios where we grew up, the majority of us wanted to be drug dealers,” Daddy Yankee said. “Today I go into the caseríos and the majority want to be singers. That, to me, means a lot.”
Daddy Yankee, who is known for radio hits such as “Gasolina” and “Despacito," credited his fans with allowing him to open doors for Latin music internationally.
"It was you who gave me the keys to open this genre and make it the biggest in the world,” he said.
Many of his fans were distraught at the idea of his leaving the music industry, tweeting their emotional responses over the weekend.
“Please check on your Latina friends.. Daddy Yankee announced his retirement… we are NOT OKAY,” one person tweeted.
His coming album, “Legendaddy,” is expected to be his 10th and final studio release. Daddy Yankee called it his best production yet, a high bar for the beloved artist.
Daddy Yankee has been nominated for four Grammy awards and has won at least four Latin Grammy awards during his career. He was inducted into the Billboard Hall of Fame last year during the Latin Billboard Music Awards ceremony.
According to Billboard, Daddy Yankee sold more than 17 million albums and had 84 entries on the Hot Latin Songs chart before his induction.
‘Despacito’ is now the most streamed song of all timeJuly 19, 201700:41
“Despacito” alone shattered records and has been tied to a rising influence of Latino artists in the U.S. mainstream. The song, which was also performed by Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber, spent 16 weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, tying “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.
Guinness World Records named Daddy Yankee the “first Latin artist to reach the number one on Spotify” in 2018, following the international influence of “Despacito.”
He told The Associated Press at the time that many people disregarded him when he began his career but that he “never stopped.”
“I had to keep fighting,” he said. “I had to make big sacrifices, to miss important moments with my family, to feel the prejudice of many people that didn’t open the doors for me.”