Lartin Grammy Juan Gabriel triumphs from grave at Latin Grammys

An icon across Latin America who has been called Mexico's Elvis Presley, Gabriel died of a heart attack on August 28 at his home in Santa Monica, California during a break from touring.

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Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony stole the show during the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, on November 17, 2016 play

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony stole the show during the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, on November 17, 2016

(AFP)
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Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony stole the show during the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, on November 17, 2016 play

Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony stole the show during the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, on November 17, 2016

(AFP)

Mexican singing great Juan Gabriel won two Latin Grammys on Thursday just months after his sudden death, as Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez stole the show with an awkward on-stage kiss.

Gabriel, whose ballads of love and loneliness won him an avid fan base over a five-decade career, took the prestigious Album of the Year as well Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for "Los Duo, Vol. 2," his 2015 work full of star collaborations.

An icon across Latin America who has been called Mexico's Elvis Presley, Gabriel died of a heart attack on August 28 at his home in Santa Monica, California during a break from touring.

"We'll miss you, maestro. We'll make sure that this award reaches your family," Noel Schajris of the duo Sin Bandera said on the announcement of the award, which was proceeded by a video tribute to Gabriel.

Husband and wife, or brother and sister?

Latin Recording Academy president Gabriel Abaroa Jr. said that Juan Gabriel had told him in 2009, when he accepted the Person of the Year award for lifetime achievement, that he did not believe in homages to the dead.

Abaroa hailed the vote to award Album of the Year to Gabriel, saying, "It gives me great pleasure as it was also a great album."

The most dramatic point of the evening came as Jennifer Lopez took to the stage with her ex-husband Marc Anthony, the 48-year-old salsa singer who was honored a day earlier as the latest Person of the Year.

Juan Gabriel was often dubbed Mexico's Elvis Presley play

Juan Gabriel was often dubbed Mexico's Elvis Presley

(AFP/File)

Taking the celebration to the main Latin Grammy ceremony, JLo and Anthony performed together a celebrated pop tune by Pimpinela, "Olvidame y Pega la Vuelta." To the lyric, "I could not understand you," Anthony shrugged his shoulders and let on a smile.

Lopez said that Anthony -- to whom she was wed for 10 years until 2014 when he remarried to Venezuelan model Shannon de Lima -- was "a magical and pure artist who has given us classics that will last forever."

"I have personally learned so much on our own personal and artistic journey. We have grown so much together," JLo said, calling her ex-husband "a mentor, a soulmate, a father and not only Person of the Year, but a person for all of life and history."

"Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" chanted the audience as she wrapped up her warm words. And they got it, as the former couple smooched to cheers and laughter in the Las Vegas arena.

Criticism of Trump

"She is like a sister to me," responded an obviously uncomfortable Anthony.

Latin America's top annual music awards brought stars to Las Vegas a week after the shock victory in the US presidential election by tycoon Donald Trump, who campaigned on pledges to crack down on immigration.

"Don't let any orange b****** take away our spiritual sensibility," Mexican indie pop singer Carla Morrison said as she received the Latin Grammy for Best Alternative Song.

Fonseca won the ?Best Tropical Song' and 'Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album' at the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, on November 17, 2016 play

Fonseca won the ?Best Tropical Song' and 'Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album' at the 17th Annual Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas, on November 17, 2016

(AFP)

"Let the wall be mental and not separate us," she said, referring to Trump's vow to seal off the Mexican border physically.

The evening was especially kind to Colombians. "La Bicicleta" ("The Bicycle") by two of Colombia's biggest stars -- Carlos Vives featuring Shakira -- won two of the top awards: Record of the Year and Song of the Year, which recognizes songwriting.

Vives, who appeared without Shakira who was said to have family issues, voiced "pride in singing in our language and making love songs for our people."

And Cartagena-born Manuel Medrano won both for Best New Artist and Best Singer-Songwriter Album for the pop vocalist's debut, self-titled release.

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