Latin Grammy winner Soraya, May 11 Soraya, the New Jersey-born Latin Grammy winner who used her fame and talents to promote awareness of breast cancer, died of the disease on Thursday, May 11, 2006, in Miami, where she lived. She was 37. Soraya spent part of her childhood in Colombia, the birthplace of her parents. She wrote her first song and became enthralled with the guitar when she was 5. Later she studied and mastered classical violin. Her music was influenced by artists such as Carole King and sometimes reflected her father's Lebanese roots. Soraya won praise for lyrics that were rooted in family experiences and, one writer said, "unfettered by overproduction." It was a characteristic that developed after an epiphany while listening to Stevie Nicks. "When I heard Landslide, it was a turning point for me," Soraya said in 1996. "Landslide helped me write from a more personal point of view; it sort of helped me knock down that wall." In 2000, she was releasing a new album, Cuerpo y Alma, and was packed to go on tour when she felt a lump under her arm. On June 5 that year, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, a particularly aggressive form of the disease. She won a Latin Grammy in 2004 for her album Soraya in the best singer-songwriter category.
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