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 barrio of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Early in his life, he attended the Ponce Free School of Music known today as the Instituto de Música Juan Morel Campos, and, inspired by Jesús Sánchez Erazo, developed an interest in music. He moved to New York City on 3 May 1963, at the age of sixteen. Shortly after his arrival, he worked as the singer in 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 as its vocalist, recording several hit songs, including "El Malo" and "Canto a Borinquen". Lavoe moved on to become a soloist and formed his own band performing as lead vocalist. As a soloist, Lavoe recorded several hits including: "El cantante" composed by Rubén Blades, "Bandolera" composed by Colón, and "Periódico de ayer" composed by Tite Curet Alonso. During this period he was frequently featured as a guest singer with the Fania All Stars recording numerous tracks with the band.
In 1979, Lavoe became deeply depressed and sought the help of a high priest of the Santería faith to treat 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, drove Lavoe to attempt suicide by jumping off a hotel room balcony. He survived the attempt and recorded an album before his health began failing. Lavoe died on June 29, 1993, from a complication of AIDS.