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Classic Tejano lost another hero recently when pioneer Ramiro "Snowball" de la Cruz passed away of a heart attack.

De La Cruz, 68, died May 20 in McAllen.

Many fans may recall De La Cruz as heading the band Snowball and Co which backed up another pioneer – Laura Canales in her early career. Canales had originally begun her career with Los Unicos and followed with a short stint with El Conjunto Bernal before joining Snowball.

Actually, De La Cruz is recognized for many contributions. With Canales in the group, the band

produced the hit remake “Midnight Blue.” Later the band would become Felicidad which in 1981 would split to form Romance and Laura Canales and Encanto.

The McAllen-based De La Cruz was known as a composer and guitarist. He left behind his wife Fela and  six children.

"Ever since I was little, I used to sing melodies without even knowing the song - it's in my veins - whatever he was I am," Crystal de la Cruz, Snowball’s youngest daughter told McAllen's KGBT-TV.

De La Cruz was born and raised in El Barrio La Paloma of South McAllen on April 14, 1943. He was the second of 12 children and given the nickname "Snowball" by a fellow musicians.

He had other nicknames - "El Guero Polvos." After graduating from McAllen High School he attended Pan American University.

He learned to play guitar at an early age. He named his first guitar "Rusty" and used it for many many years even into his professional music career. His career began when he formed the local Tejano group the Personalities.


 

He followed with stints with Los Fabulosos 4 and later graduated to Los Unicos. Then he formed Snowball and Company with famed singer Laura Canales. More recently he was singing as a soloist and as a part of a Christian musical group known as Los Mensajeros de Cristo with whom he recorded his final album.

In 2002 Ramiro "Snowball" de la Cruz along with his bandmates from Los Fabulosos 4 and Los Unicos were inducted into the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame.