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Services set for musician who died after collapsing onstage

December 8, 2017 GMT

Tejano musician Richard Ramirez was doing what he loved in the final moments of his life.

Ramirez, 50, who had been sick for some time, collapsed onstage Saturday night while singing backup for Eddie Gonzalez Y Grupo Natural at the Grasshopper Club. He died shortly thereafter.

“If his life were to end, he would rather have it onstage,” said Troy Castillo, Gonzalez’s manger.

Ramirez started working for Tejano singer Gonzalez in 1996 as a security guard. Then they heard him sing. He soon joined the band onstage as a backing vocalist.

“He was offstage for a few years because of his illness in these last few years,” said Adriana Soto Ramirez, his wife of 24 years. “He loved to sing more than anything.”

Soto Ramirez said her husband suffered from kidney failure for eight years and had started dialysis treatment earlier this year.

“He started in March,” she said, “but it was too hard for him. He stopped dialysis in July.”

Despite his ongoing struggles with his health, Ramirez never gave up his love for three things: his family, music and the San Antonio Spurs. In fact, his home is something of a local landmark. Decorated with large metal Spurs signs that he crafted himself, it has been featured on the Spurs’ website.

Ramirez also was known for his barbecues, which were frequent occasions at his Spur-adorned home.

“He loved to barbecue; that’s why he was called ‘Barbecue Richard’,” Castillo said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by a family friend to help pay Ramirez’s funeral expenses.

Visitation will be 5-9 p.m. today at Castillo Mission Funeral Home. A graveside service will be 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Cemetery in Pawnee.