Ricardo Arjona, the Guatemalan singer and songwriter known for dozens of Latin pop ballads that became international hits over a career that spanned more than 30 years, said he would stop touring, citing back problems and an imminent surgery.
Arjona, 59, wrote in social media posts on Sunday that he would stop performing on his “Blanco y Negro” tour after a show in Santiago, Chile, though his statement fell short of announcing a retirement.
“I’ll have to disappear to invent a reason that’s bigger than this,” he wrote in Spanish. “If I can’t find it, I prefer not to return.”
Arjona said he had received “six spinal infiltrations,” also known as epidural injections, over the past two months to be able to stand during his concerts, and to delay surgery. Before he performed on Saturday, Arjona said he wasn’t sure if he would be able to take a step. His “Blanco y Negro” tour, which began last year in Buenos Aires, included dozens of shows, with several stops in Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The North American leg of the tour this year included stops at Madison Square Garden in New York, as well as dozens of other cities across the United States.
“I came from dear Argentina, which gave me songs in the street and gave me a glory that I did not deserve,” he said. “I say goodbye in this Chile of so many stories and affections.”
The tour highlighted two of his albums: “Blanco,” which was released in 2020, and “Negro,” which came out in 2021. Over the course of a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Arjona has produced more than a dozen studio albums, which have earned him several awards and accolades, including the Billboard Latin music lifetime achievement award in 2017.
In 2006, Arjona won a Grammy Award for best Latin pop album and the Latin Grammy Award for best male pop vocal album for his album “Adentro.” As of December, Arjona’s music was drawing more than 8 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Arjona began his musical career in the 1980s, and after his music didn’t initially attract many listeners, he briefly taught at a public school, he said in an interview in 2011. He returned to music, and his career took off in the 1990s, when he released songs like “Historia de Taxi,” the tale of a taxi driver’s love affair. The song remains one of his most popular hits to date, having been played more than 158 million times on Spotify. Multiple other hits followed and ranked him on the top Latin music charts for his signature songs of romantic lyrics and inventive storytelling.
“Life and people have been immensely generous to this Guatemalan,” he wrote on social media, adding, “a public-school teacher, who by playing the guitar, adding some words and trying a melody, achieved a miracle that I never suspected.”