Celia Cruz, the Cuban-born 'Queen of Salsa', dies aged 77

Celia Cruz, the legendary Cuban-born singer known as the Queen of Salsa, died aged 77 at her home in New Jersey on Wednesday night.

She was suffering from cancer and had been in a coma. Her husband, Pedro Knight, and close friends were at her side.

Her music was banned in Cuba after she defected to the United States in 1960 and her death was not mentioned in the official news broadcasts on the island, but Cuban musicians lamented her passing. "Cuban music is in mourning because it has lost the greatest singer of its history," said the Latin jazz pianist Chucho Valdez. Among exiles in Miami, she was seen as a symbol of opposition to Fidel Castro.

Cruz, who performed well into her 70s, was famed for her vocal talent, outrageous costumes, wild wigs and energetic stage persona. (Reuters)