What Caused the Death of Nilda Lavoe?

In 2002, Nilda ‘Puchi’ Lavoe fell from a window in her residence at the age of 52. Little is known about her life outside of her marriage to the famed salsa musician Hector Lavoe, but we will explore what is known, including the circumstances surrounding her sad demise.

Wedlock with Hector Lavoe

Hector and Nilda got married after Nilda became pregnant. It was Hector’s second kid, and Nilda reportedly informed him of her pregnancy on the night of his first child’s christening. They were married shortly thereafter and remained so until Hector Lavoe’s death. During that time, the couple endured numerous tragedies and struggled with drug addiction.

During the course of Hector and Puchi’s marriage, their son was killed in a gun-related accident, and their first home was destroyed by fire. Both were forced to jump from a window to escape the flames, suffering shattered legs as a result. Nilda’s mother was stabbed to death in Puerto Rico at the same time. After being diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, Hector attempted suicide by jumping from a ninth-story window. In 1993, he ultimately passed away from AIDS. Nilda remained in New York until her passing.

“El Cantante”

After her husband’s death, Nilda Lavoe worked to share his tale with a larger audience. Nilda approached Jennifer Lopez’s production firm with a screenplay, demanding that they recount her husband’s story and that Lopez play her. Jennifer Lopez worked with Nilda to obtain her story for the film through taped interviews, and many of these interviews wound up in “El Cantante’s” final cut.

Through the eyes of Hector Lavoe’s wife, “El Cantante” portrayed his life as one of the most well-known singers in the salsa world. Their romance was prominently depicted in the 2007 movie.

The film grossed $8 million worldwide and was met with mediocre reviews. Willie Colón, Hector’s longtime collaborator, wrote of the film: “The true story was about Hector overcoming the hurdles of an unsupportive industry that exploited musicians with his charisma and talent. Instead, they produced another film about two Puerto Rican drug addicts.

Reason for Death

Before “El Cantante” was completed, Nilda Lavoe tragically fell out of a fourteenth-story window and died. Her official cause of death was determined to be a severe head injury resulting from the fall.


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