Selena QuintaniIla-Perez Would Have Been 41 Today: Her Life, Her Death And Her Legacy

on April 16 2012 3:18 PM
  • Selena
    Selena was murdered on March 31, 1995 by Yolanda Saldivar at the age of 23. Her family released a picture of her in her casket, because many fans did not believe she was gone. Reuters
  • Yolanda Saldivar
    Yolanda Saldivar was convicted of Selena's murder in October 1995 and was sentenced to life in prison. Reuters
  • Selena
    A Selena doll was created featuring the singer in her infamous purple stage outfit. She was buried in the outfit. Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena won a Grammy at the 36th annual Grammy awards for Best Mexican American album for "Selena Live." Flickr
  • Selena and Chris Perez
    Selena and Chris Perez were married on April 2, 1992 in Nueces County, TX. Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena Quintanilla-Perez memorial. Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena's grave site in Seaside Memorial Park, Corpus Christi, TX. Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena's clothing boutique and in-house salon. Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena's husband gripping a white rose and mother grieve at the singer's funeral. Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena and her parents, Abraham and Marcella Quintanilla. Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena and her band, Selena Y Los Dinos, which included her brother A.B. as a guitarist, sister Suzette as a drummer and husband Chris as a guitarist. Flickr
  • Selena
    Jennifer Lopez starred as Selena in the 1997 biopic film, "Selena." Flickr
  • Selena
    Selena Selena
  • Selena
    The Selena People Magazine tribute magazine sold 450,000 copies. Another commemorative issue released two weeks later sold 600,000 copies. Flickr
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Selena Quintanilla-Perez would have been 41 today. The Tejano superstar also known as the Mexican Madonna was tragically gunned down at the age of 23 on March 31, 1995.

Selena was on the cusp of reaching crossover success. She was already hugely popular throughout Latin America and was getting ready to release her first English language album before she was killed. To date Selena has sold over 60 million albums.

On the morning of March 31, 1995 Selena went to a hotel room to meet her former fan club manager, Yolanda Saldivar, at a Days Inn in Corpus Christi, TX., to recover financial records from Saldivar. Selena's father had discovered three weeks prior that Saldivar was embezzling money from the fan club. When Selena was at the hotel, Saldivar claimed that she was raped in Mexico the night before and Selena drove her to the hospital where no signs of rape were seen. Selena and Saldivar returned to the hotel where an argument ensued resulting in Saldivar shooting Selena in the shoulder and fatally wounding her. Before collapsing in the hotel lobby, Selena named Saldivar as her assailant.

I usually didn't let her leave without knowing where she was going but that particular morning as fate would have it, I was asleep and she got up early to pick up some paperwork that Yolanda had said she had found, Selena's widower, Chris Perez told CNN. I heard Selena but I didn't get up. I didn't know she was leaving. I thought maybe she was going to hang out with my Dad who had stayed over. I didn't even think to ask and then she was gone.

Selena had already sold millions of albums and racked up several awards, including a Grammy at the time of her death and was getting ready to release her first English language album. The Tejano superstar also had her own clothing boutique, clothing line and was getting ready to have her own perfume line.

She was full of energy, Perez said. She was only 23 when it all happened and not only did she have two boutiques up and running but was designing clothes as well as doing the whole entertainment thing. She was looking to open up more boutiques and starting a perfume line. She had so much ambition and the message she would give to the kids about how important education was and to stay off drugs. I mean that was the real deal. That wasn't somebody just talking the talk.

Selena's legacy is still strong today. Her music is admired by millions of her fans and her family keeps her positive memory alive. Perez has released a book about his life with Selena called, To Selena, With Love.

When she passed away the outpouring of love and support that we got from the fans shocked us, Perez said. We weren't prepared for that. So I thought I knew about it but then when this book came out the response that we've gotten from that I'm actually shocked again. I didn't realize that I was putting something out there that all those fans had been waiting for. The response has been crazy.

I would never give everything away, Perez said. I need to keep a piece of her that is only mine. But I needed people to know the truth.

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