From The New York Daily News:
Graciela Perez-Gutierrez, the legendary Afro-Cuban jazz singer who blazed the trail for Hispanic pop stars like Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, died Wednesday after being hospitalized in New York for several weeks. She was 94.
Graciela, or “Gracie” to her friends, “was where it all started,” said Bobby Sanabria, who played on three of her records. “Without her, there is no Celia Cruz or La Lupe or any of the stars today.”