Legal name: Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez
Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez (September 30, 1946 – June 29, 1993), better known as Héctor Lavoe, was a Puerto Rican salsa singer.
Lavoe was born and raised in the Machuelo Abajo sector of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Early in his life, he attended the Ponce Free School of Music, today the Instituto de Música Juan Morel Campos, and developed an interest inspired by Jesús Sánchez Erazo. He moved to New York City on 3 May 1963 at the age of sixteen. On his first week living in the city, he worked as the singer of a sextet formed by Roberto García. During this period, he performed with several other groups, including Orquesta New York, Kako All-Stars, and the Johnny Pacheco band.
In 1967, Lavoe joined Willie Colón's band and performed as the band vocalist. With the Willie Colón band, Lavoe recorded several hit songs, including "El Malo" and "Canto a Borinquen". Lavoe moved on to become a soloist and formed his own band, where he performed as lead vocals. As a soloist Lavoe recorded several hits including "El cantante", "Bandolera" and "Periódico de ayer" ("El Cantante" was composed by Rubén Blades, "Bandolera" by Colón and "Periódico" by Tite Curet Alonso.) During this period he was frequently featured as guest singer for the Fania All Stars, and recorded numerous tracks with the band.
In 1979, Lavoe underwent a deep depression and sought the help of a high priest of the Santería faith to attend to his drug addiction. After a short rehabilitation, he relapsed following the deaths of his father, son and mother in law. These events, along with being diagnosed with HIV, affected Lavoe to the point of attempting suicide by jumping off the balcony of a hotel room. Lavoe survived and recorded an album before his health began failing. Lavoe died on June 29, 1993, from a complication of AIDS.