Dom Rep mourns Johnny VenturaWednesday, August 11, 2021
BY BRIAN BONITTO
JOHNNY Ventura, the Dominican singer who helped modernise merengue, died of a heart attack on July 28. He was 81.
His death was confirmed on social media by his son Juan Jose Ventura Flores. Dominican President Luis Abinader announced three days of mourning following his death.
Dominican Ambassador to Jamaica Angie Martinez described the singer's passing as losing a “national treasure”.
“The death of Don Johnny, who was widely known as 'El Caballo Mayor' leaves a huge void in the hearts and minds of people, not only in the Dominican Republic but all over the world,” Martinez told the Jamaica Observer.
“He was a consummate diplomat, and represented all over the world, the best of the Domician Republic,” she continued.
Ventura, whose given name is Juan de Dios Ventura Soriano, was born on March, 8, 1940.
Starting in the 1960s, he had a string of hit songs that became classics. They included Merenguero Hasta La Tumbadora, Pitaste, and Patacon Pisao. He is credited in taking merengue from a traditional folk music to an internationally recognised brand.
The artiste's catalogue was made more than 105 albums in his lengthy music career, and was awarded six Latin Grammys.
He later pursued a career in politics, serving first as vice mayor of Santo Domingo from 1994 to 1998, then as mayor from 1998 to 2002.
Married for 50 years, Ventura is survived by a widow, Nelly, and seven children.