Tejano star and TV host Johnny Canales has died at age 77

The South Texas TV host's long-running TV show helped expand Tejano music's appeal and featured now-legendary performers such as Selena.

click to enlarge Johnny Canales' TV show started in Corpus Christi in the 1980s before being syndicated in San Antonio and other South Texas markets. - Facebook / El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales
Facebook / El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales
Johnny Canales' TV show started in Corpus Christi in the 1980s before being syndicated in San Antonio and other South Texas markets.
Tejano music performer and TV host Johnny Canales, whose long-running variety program helped provide early exposure to superstars including Selena and Emilio Navaira, has died at age 77.

Canales' family confirmed his passing in Thursday Facebook post. The news comes after media reports in May that the bandleader, DJ and star-maker was in declining health

"He was more than just a beloved husband, father, TV host, musician, and entertainer; he was a beacon of hope and joy for countless people," read Thursday's message, which was also posted in Spanish. "His infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino music and culture left a large mark on the world. Johnny's spirit will continue to live on through the countless lives he touched and the legacy he built."

The Johnny Canales Show began in 1983 on Corpus Christi TV station KRIS and eventually was syndicated in San Antonio and other South Texas markets. The variety show was known for featuring Tejano performers ranging from Little Joe y La Familia to Selena, the latter of whom appeared on the program while still a teenager, according to a KSAT report.

Univision picked up The Johnny Canales Show in 1988, bringing it an even wider audience, according to KSAT. The program jumped to Telemundo in the mid 1990s and ran there until its cancellation in 2005.

Canales' called out his catchphrase from the show “You got it! Take it away!" anytime he introduced a performer.

In Thursday's Facebook post, Canales' family thanked fans for their well wishes and prayers.

“Remember him not with sadness, but with the joy and passion he always brought into our lives," the post said.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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