Emilio Navaira, an influential Grammy-winning artist in the field of Tejano music who briefly enjoyed crossover success in country music in the Nineties, died Tuesday, May 17th. According to the San Antonio Express website, New Braunfels, Texas, police and fire departments were alerted by Navaira’s family members that he was found unconscious and not breathing. Navaira was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. While the singer, professionally known simply as Emilio, apparently died of natural causes, the official cause of death will be determined following an autopsy. Navaira was 53.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Navaira was signed to Capitol Nashville in the mid-Nineties, with the label releasing four singles from his debut LP, Life Is Good. The first release, “It’s Not the End of the World,” peaked just inside the Top 30. However, none of his subsequent singles for the label, including a cover of the Van Morrison-penned “Have I Told You Lately (That I Love You),” reached the Top 40. A second Capitol LP was released and, while he had no more country hits, he did continue to place albums and singles on the Latin and Regional Mexican charts, carving out one of the most successful careers in Tejano music for the remainder of his life.
Navaira’s son, Diego Navaira, is a member of the trio the Last Bandoleros, one of Rolling Stone Country’s Artists You Need to Know. Signed to Warner Music Nashville, they are expected to release their debut album later this year.