RIP Ray Reyes (Ex-Menudo)

Today, my heart aches for the loss of a man that has been a part of my life since 1983. Ray Reyes passed away April 30, 2021 and the fans of the group, Menudo share the pain. As of this morning, the cause of death is still unknown.

Ray was my childhood crush before I knew I figured out that I liked girls. I remember going to the hotel and standing outside with Ray, along with Johnny, Ricky, Roy, and Charlie on their balcony. We stood out in the California heat and screamed up at them and through little stuffed animals at them. Yes, Ray caught my teddy bear.

Over the years, I saw Ray perform many times with the group between 1983-1985. He might have only been in the group for a short time, but none the less, he was one of the strongest supporters of the group. He helped reunite six of the members to form El Reencuentro: The Menudo Reunion. Even after that, he remained a strong presence for the group with the fans.

I finally had the opportunity to meet him in Houston, when the Menudo reunion came to town. So humble, he was Menudo’s loveable Teddy Bear.

Ray will always be a part of my life and he will never be forgotten.

Ex-Garibaldi, Xavier Ortiz (1972-2020) Rest In Peace My Friend

Today, I am in mourning along with many others. Yesterday, we lost a friend and the tears continue to flow as I thinking about him, my memories, and the music. Ex-Garibaldi member, Xavier Ortiz passed away.

I considered Xavier a friend. We met for the first time in 1990 in Los Angeles when Garibaldi came for a festival. I had a first meeting at the Los Angeles airport then backstage at the festival. That was when our friendship begun. During that trip, I got to know the group personally. We became their chauffeurs, taking them to the mall and to an amusement park, even to my house to meet my family. Garibaldi was a part of my life. Honestly, they were my world.

I traveled to Mexico to see the band and when ever they were in Los Angeles, we all hung out. Looking back at my memories, brings me much joy. Xavier, Charly, and I got our ears pierced all at the same time. We rode rides together at Knott’s Berry Farm, and ordered 20 piece chicken nuggets from McDonalds eating them in the car as we explored Los Angeles. Garibaldi wasn’t just some people I watched on television, they were people I became close with and loved.

When I moved from Los Angeles to Houston, I lost touch with Garibaldi because they just never came to Texas. They music industry here was more into Tejano than pop but it never stopped my love for the band. I followed the careers of each member of the group over the years.  I was so excited with Xavier and Patty married. These were two people I loved getting married and starting a life together. Again, though I wasn’t in touch, they were part of my life.

Years later, Patty got in touch with me and a new friendship began. During this time, again Xavier entered my life because of his wife. He was a beautiful man with a smile that could light up a room. Life doesn’t always go as we hoped; Patty and Xavier divorced. Another disconnect with him in my life.

Time flies, social media grows, and over a decade later, Xavier and I connect again. This time Xavier had brought back Garibaldi with a different line-up and we caught up via social media. He was super excited to revitalize Garibaldi. When I messaged him on social media, we instantly reconnected. He was excited for me to hear the new music and we caught up on what had been going on in his life and mine. A celebrity who didn’t consider you a friend would have just said thank you and moved on. Not Xavier.

I always am surprised when these “famous” people remember me but then, I was very unique. Being a white girl speaking no-Spanish but being a #1 fan kind of stands out. I do have a few of these relationships over the years. Xavier was one of those people. We shared stories with each other while catching up. So, YES…I considered Xavier a friend. I may have been a fan for 30 years, but I felt like a friend, too.

Finding out about Xavier’s death really hit me. I was talking with a loyal Menudo fan about his death and she completely understands how connected you are to these people. If it had been a Menudo member that passed, she would be feeling the same pain I am now. As I sit at work, crying over the loss of Xavier, I am hesitant to tell people I am mourning over a celebrity. They just don’t understand.

These people made an impact in our lives. We look up to these people as role models and cherish the love and music they give us. Especially when you have people so passionate like me about music, the loss of someone who has provided us joy and comfort through music is a tragedy. I knew eventually the day would come (as we get older) that my idols would began to pass on, but not this soon. Xavier was still young.

And fucking COVID sucks. Xavier did not pass away from being sick, he passed away from not being able to handle the stress of life, lack of work, lack of money brought on from COVID quarantines.

XAVIER… You will be forever in my heart.