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Tejano singer and TV host Johnny Canales, who helped launch Selena's career, dies

Johnny Canales, host of the "Johnny Canales Show" is honored with a lifetime achievement recognition during the Tejano Music Awards in San Antonio, Texas on Aug. 18, 2012. Canales has died, according to a statement from his family. He was 77. (Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Tejano singer and longtime television music show host Johnny Canales has died. He was 77.

Canales' family confirmed his death in a statement posted Thursday on the Johnny and Nora Canales Show Facebook page. The post did not provide a cause of death.

“He was more than just a beloved husband, father, TV host, musician, and entertainer; he was a beacon of hope and joy for countless people,” according to the statement. “His infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino music and culture left a large mark on the world.”

Canales, who was born in Mexico, was known by the catchphrase “Take it away” as he hosted a televised music show in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the 1980s and 1990s.

He is credited with launching the career of Tejano superstar Selena on the show and was portrayed by actor Luis Bordonada in the Netflix series “Selena: The Series.”

At its height, the syndicated show was seen across the United States, Mexico and Latin America.

Art Galvan, a Corpus Christi musician, said he toured with Canales' band during the 1970s and called him a longtime friend.

“I was making about $50 per gig, man that was a lot of money back then ... he offered me about $75,” Galvan said.

“He was a funny, funny guy .... he was a good entertainer, he had the gift of gab,” Galvan said. “He lived a long, good life.”

Corpus Christi musician and music producer Dusty Oliveira told KXII-TV that as a child he watched and was inspired by Canales' show.

“To see someone from here do that and then blow up on a national scale, or a worldwide scale really, is really important because you want to see people like yourself doing these things,” Oliveira said.

Ken Miller, The Associated Press

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