Omar Geles death
Courtesy Omar Geles Estate

MIAMI - Colombia and the world of Latin music has bid farewell to one of its most beloved figures, Omar Geles, who died this week at the age of 57. The composer and accordionist, renowned for his timeless classic vallenato "Los Caminos de la Vida," among many others, was laid to rest in a heartfelt ceremony that gathered family, friends, and fans from across the globe.

Born in Mahates, Bolívar, Gales left an indelible mark on the vallenato genre. His career spanned decades, during which he not only performed but also composed hits that became anthems for many.

Among other notable compositions are "Una Hoja en Blanco," "Tarde lo Conocí," and "Las Locuras Mías," the latter performed by popular singer Silvestre Dangond during their last concert together on May 18th at Bogotá's Nemesio Camacho El Campín Stadium.

Omar Geles cause of death

Geles' sudden death came as a shock to Colombia and all Latin music lovers. He suffered a heart attack while playing tennis at the Club Campestre in Valledupar. Despite his known hypertension and a recent health scare in Miami, the news of his passing has left the vallenato community in mourning. His wife, Maren García, and their three children survive him.

The music community has been vocal in expressing their grief and admiration for Geles. Silvestre Dangond, who had the honor of performing alongside Geles in his final concert, shared an emotional tribute: "half of my career is in your hands negro. I adore you negro. I love you."

Latin Grammys 2024 Person of the year Carlos Vives, a major figure in bringing vallenato to international audiences, also expressed his sorrow on social media.

"It is not easy to accept that an artist like Omar Geles, with so much talent, with so much joy, with so many stories to tell, with so much love for the people is suddenly gone. I could tell you many stories of a truly fraternal artist, without selfishness, and loved by everyone." - Carlos Vives

Juanes, Maluma, Rafael María Díaz, son of Diomedes Díaz, also expressed their deep sadness for his passing. Karol G had asked him to do a song together.

Omar Geles career

Omar Geles' legacy is vast. He was not only a performer but also a composer whose songs propelled many artists to fame, including Diomedes Díaz, Patricia Teherán, and Jorge Oñate. His contributions to the vallenato genre were recognized early in his career when he won several prestigious awards at the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata, eventually earning the title of Rey Vallenato in 1989.

In 1985, Geles co-founded the group Los Diablitos with Miguel Morales, a band that achieved widespread acclaim with hits like "Los Caminos de la Vida." This song, in particular, has resonated with audiences far beyond Colombia, with covers by artists such as Grammy nominee and Latin Grammy winner Lila Downs and Vicentico, further cementing Geles's impact on Latin American music​

As the vallenato community comes to terms with this loss, plans are already in motion to honor Geles's memory. Sandra Arregocés, president of the Encuentro Vallenato Femenino, announced that a special tribute will be paid to Geles at their annual event in July, ensuring that his music and legacy continue to inspire future generations.

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