Pedro Juan Rodriguez Ferrer, the Puerto Rico-born salsa legend known as Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, died in his sleep Friday of an apparent heart attack. He was 68.
Rodriguez, reportedly dubbed El Conde (The Count) by his barber, came to New York City in the 1950s and achieved fame as a singer for bandleader Johnny Pacheco after fronting his own band, Conjunto Sensación. As a member of the Pacheco-organized Fania All-Stars, Rodriguez sang to some 40,000 fans at Yankee Stadium on August 24, 1973; his “Pueblo Latino” was included on the hit Fania All-Stars album, Live at Yankee Stadium.
Known for such songs as “Azuquita” and “Sonero,” Rodriguez also dueted memorably with salsa queen Celia Cruz.