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Legendary merengue singer Johnny Ventura dies at 81

He passed away from a heart attack.
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Johnny Ventura arrives at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — The music world is mourning the loss of a merengue legend. Dominican singer and former Mayor of Santo Domingo, Johnny Ventura, died Wednesday at the age of 81.

Ventura died of a heart attack, his son Jandy, told CNN.

Ventura, whose real name was Juan de Dios Ventura Soriano, was known for classics such as “Patacon Pisao,” “Pitaste,” “El Elevador,” and “Merenguero Hasta la Tambora", according to Rolling Stone.

Ventura modernized the merengue rhythm by introducing saxophones, trumpets, piano, drums, electronic effects, timpani, and incorporating elements from other rhythms without losing the essence and natural colors of the merengue, per Dominican.News.

He also served as mayor of Santo Domingo from 1998 to 2002.

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