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Jaripeo Has Lost a King: Joan Sebastian Dies at 64

Image: Joan Sebastian
FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2012, file photo, Joan Sebastian performs at the 13th Annual Latin Grammy Awards at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The Mexican Television chain Televisa announced on Monday, July 13, 2015, that Sebastian has died after a long battle with cancer. (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP, File)AP

The world of Mexican Rodeo has lost a legend; Joan Sebastian died Monday after years of struggling with bone cancer.

The 64-year-old singer had a long career and along with countless awards, he won great admiration from fellow singers.

“God gave you one of the most beautiful gifts that exist in this land, the gift of touching the hearts of people with your words and melodies with your smile and your life example,” said Thalia, Mexican actress and singer in an Instagram post. “You go on ahead of us my dear friend.”

Jose Manuel Figueroa was born on April 8, 1951. Over his career he created more than 35 albums and won five Grammys and seven Latin Grammy awards.

The singer received his title of “El Rey del Jaripeo” or the King of Mexican Rodeo for his love of performing his songs while riding on horseback.

Sebastian was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999, according to the Latin Times. The rodeo star had a long struggle with the disease and he continued to fight it off, but it resurfaced twice before making its final return in 2014. Sebastian was weak from chemotherapy and retired from jaripeos in early 2014, according to The singer told morning show "Hoy" that he didn’t expect to have chemotherapy before his show.

"We booked these dates two months ago, I didn't know that I would need chemotherapy again," Sebastian said. "I am very conscious that this is something I have to deal with and I have fortunately been able to pull through."

During the performance, the singer had difficulties going up the stairs and stayed seated throughout the performance, telling reporters later on, “I felt weak on stage."

Fans showed support during his final battle with cancer and wished him blessings over social media.

Last year, Sebastian told El Universal that he was retiring from rodeo.

“I am 62 years old and I am satisfied with what I have accomplished.”

The Mexican hit maker died on Monday at his family's ranch in Juliantla, Guerrero, Mexico and has left behind seven children.

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