Celia Cruz- In her own words

About Tito Puente: “For me, he was a gentleman on stage. His friendship, his love, and his treatment towards me is something I will always cherish.”

On “Azúcar” (her most famous phrase): “It started when we were dinning with friends in a restaurant and the waiter asked if I wanted coffee with or without sugar … and I answered: “azúuuuucar”, because it was obvious I couldn’t drink Cuban coffee without it. That night during the show, I told the story and the audience died laughing. Later, the public started requesting that I tell them the story about the sugar… Until I grew tired of it, and before they asked I came out screaming: “Azúcar” … I never told the story again, but kept repeating the word.

About the awards. “All awards have left their mark in my memory. But I have to tell you that the one I had to wait for the longest was the Star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From President Ronald Reagan to hundreds of illegal aliens wrote letters requesting it. That’s why I’ve always said that it isn’t Celia’s star, it’s the star of my fans.”

On her husband, Pedro Knight: “He has many qualities, but I’ve always been captivated by the gentleman in him. He still opens the car door for me, every morning the prepares my coffee … If he doesn’t do it, I won’t have breakfast, because I like it when he spoils me.”

Her take on fame: “It is a great satisfaction to be recognized, because we get to know important people, such as presidents and artists … Marlon Brando, Bill Cosby, Quincy Jones, Gloria and Emilio Estefan … And just as easily, continue to be part of the people: to share with them, to receive their love, and to offer ours.”

One dream: “To return to Cuba …”

Her hobbies: “I like to listen to all types of music. Every time I visit a country I purchase the local music. I also like to collect gold coins and gold bracelets … “

On Celia Cruz: “I am a very happy lady that tries to be a good friend. I enjoy what I do, and have always liked it. That’s why I’m so happy, and why I want to pass on to others my smile and my happiness. In fact, when somebody asks me how I want to be remembered, I always respond the same way: I want to be thought of as someone who’s always happy.”

On retirement: “It is absolute death, and I’m not talking about artists, because some performers change the focus of their career… I believe inactivity is a cancer in the soul … I’ve always thought that I’ll retire when God takes away my abilities … like Miguelito Valdez, I want to bid farewell to life, while on stage.”

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