MIAMI – Colombian-American singer Soraya, who won a Latin Grammy for best female album in 2004 and worked to educate Hispanic women about breast cancer, died Wednesday after battling the disease. She was 37.
She died in a Miami hospital, said Lorena Oriani, a spokeswoman for her record label, EMI Latin.
She was born in New Jersey to Colombian parents in 1969 and was found to have breast cancer in 2000.
Her greatest hits were "Solo Por Ti" and "Casi," both released in 2003 on the album "Soraya." She was well known for integrating cumbia and flamenco music with her own style of pop-rock.
Besides her Latin Grammy in 2004, she won a Billboard Latin Music Spirit of Hope award that year. In 2005 she was nominated for a Latin Grammy for female pop vocal album for "El Otro Lado De Mi."
In a letter posted on her Web site Tuesday in Spanish, she wrote to her fans about her battle with cancer. She said she was sure her life was ending.
"I have not lost this battle, because I know the fight was not in vain," she said. "Instead, it will help end a larger battle, which is early detection to prevent this terrible disease."
Soraya's mother, grandmother and an aunt died of breast cancer, which encouraged her to inform Hispanic women about the disease. She joined the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and traveled all over Latin America to inform women about early breast cancer detection.
Soraya recorded "Por Ser Quien Soy" ("For Being Who I Am"), a song that reflects her experience with the disease.