Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez, aka Hector Lavoe, was one of the leading lights of Latin music as it changed from the boogaloo of the 1960s to the massively popular salsa of the '70s. Lavoe was born in the Machuelo Abajo barrio of Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1946. He grew up among a musical family and took early inspiration from the likes of Daniel Santos and Chuito el de Bayamon, studying at the Escuela Libre de Música de Ponce music school. At 17, however, Lavoe quit the school to move to New York and actively pursue a music career. He found gigs with a number of groups, but it was as the frontman of Willie Colón's orquestra that he made his mark. From 1966 Colón and Lavoe worked together across 14 albums, most of which are considered important additions to the Latin music canon. When Colón left Lavoe with the task of running the orquestra for a time in 1973 the singer performed well, launching from his stint as band leader into a solo career and a run of performances with the Fania All-Stars super group. Behind the scenes, however, Lavoe was battling with drug addiction and emotional turmoil. A string of family deaths, a faltering career and an HIV diagnosis drove him to a failed suicide attempt in 1988. Lavoe died of complications from AIDS on 29th June 1993, aged 46.