Who was Johnny Canales? Tejano music singer and TV host dies at 77

2005 Billboard Latin Music Awards - Press Room
Johnny Canales, Tejano music singer and TV host dies at 77 (Image via Getty)

Johnny Canales, a beloved Tejano music and television figure, passed away on June 13, 2024, at the age of 77.

On Thursday, via Facebook account, a post accompanied by multiple pictures of him with family and friends confirmed the news of his passing:

"With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Johnny Canales," the post reads.

Juan José Canales was a Mexican Tejano singer and host of The Johnny Canales Show, which first aired on Univision Network from 1988 to 1996. The show reached thousands of Mexican households in the United States.

Tejano music, a widely embraced genre, blends Mexican-Spanish vocal traditions with Czech and German dance tunes and rhythms. It is typically performed by small ensembles featuring accordion and guitar.

Getting to know Johnny Canales

Johnny Canales died at 77 (Image via Facebook/@El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales)
Johnny Canales died at 77 (Image via Facebook/@El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales)

Canales was born in 1947 in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, at a very young age. The Tejano artist has had a passion for music since childhood. One of Canales's most prominent works was hosting one of Selena Quintanilla's first live performances when she was 13.

Moreover, he rose to prominence with the television show The Johnny Canales Show, which was dedicated to showcasing Tejano music and culture. According to Billboard, in 1997, Johnny Canales became part of the Telemundo network, where he worked for several years. Then, his own television show was broadcast through Telemundo.

Later, in 2013, Canales returned to television screens with his wife on his show, El Nuevo Show de Johnny y Nora Canales. He remained active on social media for quite a long time.

Canales with daughters (Image via Facebook/@El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales)
Canales with daughters (Image via Facebook/@El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales)

According to Belmont Film House, Canales released over 20 albums in his career span and had a short-lived acting career in 1991 for the Bronco movie. Moreover, he was honored with the Veteran of the Year 2009 award from the American GI Forum.

The Mexican singer married Nora Canales, a television host, in 1995. The couple had two children, Seleste Canales and Miroslava Canales.

Mexican singer Johnny Canales died at 77

On Thursday, the family of Canales confirmed his demise in a Facebook post written in English and Spanish language. The post suggested that he was more than a "husband" and "father." Also, he was a "beacon" for many people. The statement reads:

"He was more than just a beloved husband, father, TV host, musician, and entertainer; he was a beacon of hope and joy for countless people. His infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino music and culture left a large mark on the world. Johnny's spirit will continue to live on through the countless lives he touched and the legacy he built."

The statement further reflected gratitude for the love and support that people had given Canales over the years and a plea to remember his family in prayers:

"We thank you all for your kind words, love, and support during this difficult time. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. Remember him not with sadness but with the joy and passion he always brought into our lives."

In May 2024, Miami-based filmmaker Adrian Arredondo, who is working on a documentary on Canales, was asked about the TV host by TPR. In a response, Arredondo suggested that the Mexican singer brought an undiscovered genre to US television and was the "most genuine" person he had met:

"He was putting on his TV show artists who people in the United States had one no idea existed, who had no idea that the genres existed. I would describe Johnny Canales as one of the funniest people that I've ever met and one of the most genuine human beings," Arredondo said.

The reason for his demise is not known yet. However, according to Billboard, Canales suffered a stroke in 2008, but his health condition began to deteriorate. Moreover, due to a stroke, he lost his mobility and was compelled to sign off from television ultimately.

According to the publication, in early 2024, Johnny Canales appeared on networks and was visibly seen as having a weak health condition. In his last passing days, he became more feeble.

The final arrangements for the memorial services have yet to be disclosed.

Edited by Gayatri Chivukula
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