CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) — Ariel Camacho, a young, up-and-coming Mexican singer, was killed in a car crash after leaving a concert in Mexico, his record company confirmed Thursday.
Camacho, already popular in his home state of Sinaloa and parts of the U.S. as a singer of the "grupera" genre, died early Wednesday in Sinaloa, Los Angeles-based DEL Records said in a statement. The studio said he was 22, although local media reported his age as 23.
He had been a guest performer at the concert of another band, Clave Azul, singing his latest hit, "El Karma," in the town of Mocorito, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Culiacan.
Police said Camacho's car was speeding when it skidded off the road and ran into a drainage ditch about 3 a.m. Wednesday. He and two people in the car were killed; two others survived with grave injuries, police said in a statement.
"My heart is broken by the loss of Ariel Camacho," Angel Del Villar, CEO and founder of DEL Records, said in the statement. "Ariel was like a son to me. I knew he was going to transform the genre in Mexico and the United States. Millions of people would have become fans and would have gotten to know the man I did. We send our condolences to the families of all those involved in the accident."
Dozens of Mexican musicians including Bob Vega, Luis Coronel, Karla Sierra, Gerardo Ortiz, and Fidel Rueda expressed their condolences on social networks and published photos with Camacho. At a wake in the Sinaloa town of Guamuchil, several gathered with their guitars to sing in his memory.
Camacho and his group, Los Plebes del Rancho, were part of a new generation of singers known as the "altered movement," singing explicit ballads about the realities of drug trafficking and uncontrolled violence. Other artists in the movement include Ortiz and El Komander, the stage name of Alfredo Rios, who wrote on his Twitter account: "My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Ariel Camacho. May God console you for this terrible loss. Rest in peace."
Camacho was born in Guasave, Sinaloa, and his songs were about his small-town roots and the narco-culture of Sinaloa, home to Mexico's most powerful drug cartel of the same name. He performed acoustically with his group, a second guitar and tuba, and had mastered the smaller, higher-pitched requinto guitar, according to DEL records.
The record company called his style "real and raw" and said it depicted "the story of his fans — hard-working people from every walk of life."
Camacho was on tour promoting his album, "El Karma," and was also in the recording studio with a new project. He was to perform several shows this weekend in Southern California, where he was building a strong following.