Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba on October 21, 1925.  Throughout her career, Cruz earned 23 gold albums, countless awards (including three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys) and worldwide recognition. Growing up in Havana, she was influenced by the burgeoning variety of Cuban music in the 1930s and got her first big break with La Sonora Matancera, a Cuban/Afro-Cuban band led by the guitarist, vocalist, composer and producer Rogelio Martínez.

After the Cuban revolution of 1959, Cruz left Cuba for Mexico and then the United States. In 1962, she married Pedro Knight, who became her musical director and manager three years later, after she had left the group and became a solo artist. As a solo act, she continued to entertain Latino and non-Latino audiences with her incredible voice, striking performances, out of this world outfits and her unforgettable shout: “Azúcar!” On July 16, 2003, Cruz died of brain cancer at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at the age of 77. 

Today would have marked her 90th birthday, and we gathered up some of her best songs to reminisce why Celia Cruz is known around the world as “La Reina de la Salsa.”