Reik, Angélica Vale and More Pay José José Their Final Respects (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
John Parra/Getty Images--Leon Bennett/Getty Images -- Alexander Tamargo/Telemundo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
It's been a time of reflection for many following the death of José José. The Príncipe de la Canción died on Sept. 28 in Florida. He was 71.
The beloved Mexican singer and actor touched many lives with his beautiful and passionate ballads. As the world says its final goodbyes, artists continue to celebrate his life, legacy and contributions to the arts.
"There's not going to be another voice like José José, ever. He was the best," actress Angélica Vale tells ET exclusively. "His interpretations, the way he sang, everything about him, he was amazing. I don't think we will ever have another José José. He was incredible."
As a singer and songwriter himself, Reik's Jesús Navarro admires how much people connected with the musician.
"All Mexicans grew up hearing and singing his songs, and we have an appreciation and value for what it represents in our culture. It is huge," the frontman says. "José José is one of the greats and one of those artists who you want to emulate and be like."
Each individual has their own personal story and memory when it comes to El Príncipe de la Canción. For Vale, she personally grew up with him and considers him a family member.
"I was lucky enough to have met him when I was super small. I grew up with him. He was like my tio, really a close person in my life," the actress, who recently joined Los Angeles' Cali 93.9 radio station, shares. "He was amazing and a very good guy, with a great sense of humor. Not too many people know that. He was hilarious. You don't know how funny he was!"
Vale also had the opportunity to work with José José on the Mexican telenovela, La Fea Más Bella (Ugly Betty), in which he portrayed her father.
"He always had a joke or the perfect anecdote to make you smile, and that is the way I want to remember him," she reminisces. "If you were having the worst day or feeling horrible, suddenly José José would come and he would say something super funny and change the day. That was José José for me. I'm going to remember him forever and I'm going to miss him a lot."
Francia Raisa also shares memories of her time with José José, who was a longtime family friend and even performed at her quinceañera.
"José José was a really good friend of my dad's [radio personality Renán Almendárez, known as El Cucuy De La Mañana]," the Grown-ish actress told ET earlier this month. "I had, like, My Super Sweet Sixteen, but before the show ever existed. So José José was there."
"He was this very, very sweet man, but not only did he show up to my quinceañera, he showed up to my sisters' quinceañeras," she continued. "So every time any of us turned 15, he was there…It was amazing. So it was really sad for me to hear [about his passing]. He's such a wonderful man and I'm glad that people are honoring him the way he deserves."
On the day of his death, Navarro, along with bandmates Julio Ramírez and Bibi Marín, paid tribute to the "40 y 20" singer during their show in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, by singing "El Triste," which he said is "one of our favorites and the audiences."
Vale will always remember the way he lifted everyone's spirits the moment he entered a room. "He always had a smile all the time and made me smile," she recalls, adding that her former co-star, Jaime Camil, also loved how hilarious and welcoming he was. "The first time he had to film with José José, [Camil] was like, 'Oh my gosh, how can you film with this guy every single day?! He's hilarious!' We couldn't stop laughing. He was kind and he was generous and an amazing human being."
As for the legacy he leaves behind, it's José José's romanticism-infused performances he so perfectly delivered to his adoring fans that people will always be remember.
"All his songs, they are so good!" Vale stresses. "You cannot have a glass of wine with a couple of friends and not end the night singing José José, right? At the end of the night, someone's going to start, 'Ya lo pasado, pasado.'"
"I think all his songs were great, but the way he sang them, it goes straight into your heart. You just have to love him," she says, adding, "And we grew up with him. All those songs takes me back to Mexico with my parents, with my friends, when I was a little girl, when I didn't have to pay bills [laughs]. Simpler times."
Navarro says he'll always admire the way he captured audiences. "His voice and the way he performed, I think that's why he continued to stay relevant for so many years after many of his contemporaries disappeared," he notes. "For us, it has to do with the songs and the way he spectacularly interpreted them."
For more on José José's life and legacy, see below.