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SALSA CROONER RUIZ REMEMBERED.

Byline: - Billboard

Armed with a tenor voice as bright and dazzling as the considerable amount of gold jewelry he donned for his live performances, Frankie Ruiz, who died Aug. 9 of liver cirrhosis at age 40, is being remembered sadly in the Latino music world as a salsa star whose high-flying career was permanently shot down by substance-abuse afflictions.

``Frankie Ruiz was one of the guys who started salsa romantica in the late '80s ... but he never took time to try and get cured,'' says Ralph Mercado, president of Latino record label RMM Records and a veteran promoter of Hispanic artists in New York.

Ruiz, who spent three years in a federal prison for an altercation with a male flight attendant, made his last public appearance at a July 11 concert in Madison Square Garden, where he was honored for his career. His hits included ``Desnudate Mujer,'' ``Mi Libertad'' and ``Voy Pa'Encima.''

Born in Paterson, N.J., Ruiz spent his adolescence in Puerto Rico as vocalist of Orquesta La Solucion. In 1980, he set out on his own, recording a string of hits in the salsa romantica or salsa erotica styles, in which suggestive lyrics were integral to a song.

As salsa evolved in a more pop-flavored, conservative direction in the early '90s, Ruiz gradually lost steam, but scored such huge hits as ``Bailando'' and ``Ironia.''

Rodven recently issued a double-CD Ruiz retrospective, ``Frankie Ruiz - Oro Salsero.'' In the next few months, the label plans to release the posthumous album ``Nacimientos y Recuerdos.''
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Aug 18, 1998
Words:253
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