Fans Gather in Monterey Park to Pay Homage to Legendary Mexican Singer Juan Gabriel

Fans of legendary Mexican singer Juan Gabriel gathered Tuesday evening to say goodbye and pay homage to a man who many said they've grown to love over the years like a family member.

The memorial service was held at St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Monterey Park where about 100 fans grieved and paid their respects to the 66-year-old international superstar, whose real name was Alberto Aguilera Valadez.

Legendary Mexican Singer Juan Gabriel performs during the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Nov. 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Legendary Mexican Singer Juan Gabriel performs during the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Nov. 5, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)Tens of million  of rcords,

The Latin American music icon, who died of a heart attack Aug. 27 at his home in Santa Monica, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,  and was best known for his powerful ballads, commanding stage presence and flamboyant costumes.

"He's my idol since age of 15," said Laura Garcia, a lifelong fan of Gabriel who saw him in concert 9 times. "The loss is like losing a family member."

Gabriel's career started back in the 1970s.

He wrote more than 1,500 songs, sold tens of millions of records, was nominated for a Grammy Award six times and  took to the stage to sing for 17,000 fans at the Los Angeles Forum just a couple days before his death.

"I'm here to honor him because he gave Mexico a beautiful name, and every song spoke to you no matter what age you were. There was something you could take for yourself and learn from it, live by it, follow it," Garcia added.

Aside from their love of Gabriel's romantic music  -- which focused on love and heartache -- fans at his memorial service  said they also had great respect for the singer's desire to give back to the Mexican community.

"He also opened an orphanage, because he was an orphan himself," Rosie Guerrero, another Gabriel fan, said.

Gabriel's ashes arrived in Mexico City on Monday in a funeral procession where tens of thousands of people lined the streets to say goodbye to the music legend over a two-day memorial.

At Tuesday's memorial service in Monterey Park white doves were released outside of the church as a special tribute to the late legendary singer.

Later this week family members will be taking Gabriel's urn back to his home in Mexico, where it will be placed over the chimney just as he wished.

Gabriel leaves behind four kids, and several grandchildren.