Singer Gloria Estefan and her husband EMILIO have expressed their grief over the death of salsa superstar Celia Cruz.

Cuban-born Cruz died on 16 July (03) at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at the age of 77, following a battle with brain cancer.

Fellow Cuban singer Gloria says in a statement, "I don't want to say that we've lost Celia because her music, her spirit and her 'azucar' (sugar) will always be with us.

"Cubans and Latinos alike can feel proud that with her voice and her wonderful qualities, she showed the world the best of our culture. Although I will miss her very much, my heart will always hold all the beautiful things that, through her example, she showed me."

Emilio adds, "Thank you for your talent... Thank you for your humbleness... Thank you for keeping Cuba close to our hearts... Thank you for uniting all Hispanics and making us very proud... Your 'azucar' and flavour will always be in our hearts."

21/07/2003 21:28