La Guancha Recreational and Cultural Complex in Ponce, Puerto Rico, is the site since last weekend of a statue portraying late salsa star Hector Lavoe (1946-1993), a native of this town, and which is aimed at attracting tourists and fans of the man known as "the singer of singers."

Hundreds of people, including Lavoe's daughter Leslie Perez, traveled here Sunday to see and have their pictures taken with the likeness created by Puerto Rican sculptor Severo Romero.

"We thank the public that contributed. If it weren't for the public, this wouldn't be here," Perez told Efe.

Perez asked visitors to take care of the statue for the good of everyone, and not let it get damaged as happened to the bust of her father in Plaza de los Salseros in San Juan's Santurce district.

Perez said she only realized the fame of her father, known for hits like "Aguanile" and "Periodico de Ayer," after his death in 1993, thanks to the outpouring of affection and support from his fans, who always spoke of the singer's attitude of humility and respect.

The $60,000 statue is 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) tall, weighs 1 ton and portrays Lavoe with a microphone in his right hand and a pair of maracas in his left.

Lavoe was born in Ponce's Belgica neighborhood and, with the intention of becoming a professional singer, decided in the 1960s to move to New York, where he achieved his dream of being one of the most acclaimed artists of tropical music.

Lavoe, whose real name was Hector Juan Perez Martinez, died on June 29, 1993 at St. Clare's Hospital in Manhattan at age 46. EFE