Frankie Ruiz, one of Salsa’s premier lead singers, died
Sunday, August 9, 1998, of liver failure. He had been in poor health for several years and hospitalized off and on for the past two years. Sources close to Mr. Ruiz attribute the death to complications of AIDS.
Frankie Ruiz was born in Patterson, New Jersey and first recorded with a local group, Charlie Lopez Y Su Orquesta. He later moved to Puerto Rico with his mother. While in Puerto Rico he became a huge fan of the group La Solucion. He followed them to every performance and learned each of their songs by heart. He wanted very much to sing with them. His mother implored the musical director, Roberto Rivera to give her son an opportunity. Frankie, then very young and virtually unknown wasn’t taken seriously. He, nevertheless, continued to show up to every performance.As luck would have it, one night the lead singer did not show up. Frankie was there of course and Roberto Rivera having little other choice offered Frankie Ruiz the opportunity he had dreamed of. Frankie began recording with La Solucion. He was asked to do a remake of the song, Salsa Buena, he had originally recorded with Charlie Lopez’ group. He performed with La Solucion for about three years.
He later went on to the Orchestra of Tommy Olivencia and continued to make a name for himself. He had a huge hit entitled Lo Dudo which sent his popularity skyrocketing. He stayed with Olivencia for approximately another three years. By the mid 1980’s Frankie began recording as a solo artist. He toured extensively and was one of the most sought-after artists on the Salsa music scene.

Unfortunately the events of Frankie Ruiz’ life cannot be recounted without mentioning the role drugs played. They became a problem early in his life and remained so for the duration. Unlike others before him music, fame, and fortune were not the stepping stones to substance abuse. Those elements came later.

Frankie Ruiz made significant contributions to Salsa. He was one of the first purveyors of Salsa Sensual. He helped to revive Salsa at a time when its popularity was on a downturn. He became one of the first idols youth related to because of his own young age, handsome good looks, and true singing ability. Throughout the ups and downs of his career, Frankie remained dear to his fans. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy of music for our listening pleasure.


Alex Cordova, Eileen Torres, Frankie Ruiz

Frankie, thank you for the joy you have given us. Our love and prayers follow you in your next journey. To your family and friends, we share in your loss and grieve with you.