Google Doodle Honors ‘Queen of Salsa’ Celia Cruz

The Cuban-American's rhythms influenced everyone from Marc Antony to Gloria Estefan

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A new Google Doodle honors Celia Cruz, known as the “Queen of Salsa.” Some websites report that she would have been 88 today, but TIME wrote “she was coy about her exact birth year” in the milestone that the magazine published after she died of a brain tumor in 2003 at 77 (even Encyclopedia Britannica lists a question mark after her birth year: “October 21, 1929?”).

(PHOTOS: A History of Google Doodles)

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Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Celia Cruz poses with her Best Salsa Album award for ‘La Negra Tiene Tumbao’ backstage during the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Sep. 18, 2002

The Cuban-American singer was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States in 1959, just as Fidel Castro was sworn into power, and became a U.S. citizen in 1961. “Cruz’s timeless appeal is spanning generations,” TIME wrote in a 1988 profile of the Latin musicians who were influencing pop music at the time. As TIME wrote in 2003, Cruz “once said ‘Salsa is … all the Cuban rhythms under one name.’ You could say the same about Cruz.”

She sang Afro-Cuban music and performed with the genre’s big stars like Johnny Pacheco’s band and Tito Puente in the movie The Mambo Kings (1992) and inspired many more like Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Antony. Cruz earned several Grammys and Latin Grammys for her salsa and tropical albums, even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The wigs, shoes with aluminum heels and costumes she donned on stage were recognized as works of art when they were displayed at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History as part of a 2005 retrospective exhibit of her six-decade career.

As TIME described her style, “Her contralto voice was like the waters that separate Miami and Havana–inviting, sun-kissed, capable of rising up in a storm.”

Listen to a selection of her hits below:

“La Negra Tiene Tumbao”

“Guantanamera”

“Oye Como Va”

MORE: Google Doodle Celebrates Yosemite’s 123rd Birthday As Government Shuts The Park Down

17 comments
EmiliaEstrada
EmiliaEstrada

Buenas tardes a todos, Celia es y siempre sera un gran orgullo no solo para los cubanos que la quisimos y respetamos porque nunca se olvido de su Cuba querida sino que fue una artista completa canto sus canciones que hicieron que Cuba viviera en su voz, para aqullos paises que le abrieron sus brazos y la quisieron tambien, gracias.una fan de ella de siempre.

MelvinaRoselyn
MelvinaRoselyn

I remember when she died. Time sure does pass really fast. It makes you realize that life isn't forever.

UrbanEagle
UrbanEagle

Awesome!!! Love Celia a Salsa Master Pro Queen!!

frvalentin
frvalentin

On behalf of the Latin Community, especially, los Salseros  puertorriqueños, and those who dearly remember Celia and acknowledge her legacy and cultural contribution, not only to us as Latinos, but to the world, I would like to thank Google, for remembering her on this day. I remember Celia's words the last time she appeared on TV. She was frail , and yet kept her spirit up....She asked for us not to forget her.... Thank you Google, honoring her memory.

Sincerely, un Boricua

StilettoTreeHugger
StilettoTreeHugger

Wow ... thank you Google and Time for acknowledging, honoring and respecting Ceclia Cruz. I am grateful and truly impressed. I was devastated when the death of Oscar Winner Raul Julia had been ignored by Time magazine and industry period. Very few Latinos are allowed to make it so far into the stratosphere, so when they die, I'm grateful when the publications/media honor their achievements versus ignoring that they once existed.

Thank you Google for the doodle!! :)

rosi7719
rosi7719

Thank you google & Time for honoring this Icon of the music la guarachera Linda Celia Cruz azucar!!!!!!

rosi7719
rosi7719

A music Icon we miss you guarachera Linda happy birthday donde quiera que estes nunca tendremos otra como tu eres unica we love you azucar!!!!!!

LucyEncarnación
LucyEncarnación

THANK YOU GOOGLE & TIME!!   It is so wonderful to see this report and Google honoring Celia with "Google Doddle Honor", Celia was a great model for a lot singers out there and opened the door for so many other salsa singers in this country. Salsa is such a big part of Hispanic heritage and what a better way to solute Hispanic Heritage then with "La Reina de la Salsa"...AZUCAAAAR!!

DinahPerezLaw
DinahPerezLaw

I believe Celia was older than she stated.  My mom was born in Cuba in 1923 and she told me that Celia was already famous when she was a teenager.  That would be impossible if Celia was born in 1929.  She was likely 10 or more years older than she said she was. 

panacoqui2010
panacoqui2010

A music Icon to every latin-american like myself. I had the pleasure to see her live several times and was always amazed of her powerful crystal voice. Saw her for the last time at Las Viejas Casino on San Diego CA. At the time you could tell her health was declining, but her voice and warmest towards the audience was still the same. I think she passed the next year.

Meatman
Meatman

Loved Celia Cruz. Reminds me of growing up listening to her music so many years ago.

305rob305
305rob305

one of the best ever....total talent that will be remembered forever! Go Celia and Go to a democratic Cuba!!!

panacoqui2010
panacoqui2010

@DinahPerezLaw I don't know but my dad (from PR) was born on 1934 and always said the same thing. But I think your mom and my dad kind of lost track of time over the years. I believe Celia was older than what she stated but not by much. According to wikipedia, she was born on 1925. She replaced La Sonora Matancera lead singer  Myrta Silva on 1950. So she was 25 then. At that point dad was about 15 and you mom was 27, so that kind of make sense.