Salsa Music Great José "Cheo" Feliciano, 78, Dies In Car Crash

Puerto Rican singer José Luis "Cheo" Feliciano, who performed with some of salsa's top stars, was killed in a car crash in San Juan early Thursday morning, police said.

He was 78.

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared three days of mourning.

Feliciano died shortly after 4 a.m, according to Axel Valencia, a San Juan police spokesman. The El Nuevo Dia newspaper said his Jaguar hit an electricity pole.

Not to be confused with the blind José Feliciano, the famed Puerto Rican guitarist and vocalist with hits including a rendition of The Doors' "Light My Fire," Cheo Feliciano was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

He dropped out of school at 17 to train with top salsa orchestras in New York, according to

It said he recorded 17 albums with bandleader Joe Cuba and later joined the Fania All-Stars. In 2008, he was honored with the Latin Grammy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

In 2012, he released a collaboration with Panamanian singer Rubén Blades, "Eba Say Ajá."

Feliciano's contribution to salsa "has no expiration date," said Blades on his website. "He will always be remembered with fondness and admiration that the greats deserve."