Taken away: Valley reacts to death of Tejano legend Johnny Canales

Host Johnny Canales talks with the guests on his show The Johnny Canales Show during its taping Feb. 6, 2013, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Johnny Canales, the pioneer who brought Tejano music into our living rooms with “The Johnny Canales Show,” died Thursday at age 77, his family shared on social media.

Canales was born in Mexico and raised in Robstown. He was a musician and radio DJ before executive producing the television program that would make him a household name for millions of Hispanic families. He’s credited with boosting the career success of Selena Y Los Dinos, when the young band appeared on his show.

Canales launched his music-centric variety show in 1983 on Corpus Christi TV station KRIS. The program expanded to other South Texas markets in the mid ’80s and was picked up by mainstream Spanish TV outlets, airing nationally from 1988 to the mid-2000s.

Host Johnny Canales talks with members of the group Masorre on his show The Johnny Canales Show during its taping Feb. 6, 2013 in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

“He was more than just a beloved husband, father, TV host, musician, and entertainer; he was a beacon of hope and joy for countless people,” Nora Canales wrote on the El Show de Johnny y Nora Canales Facebook page. “His infectious charisma and dedication to promoting Latino music and culture left a large mark on the world. Johnny’s spirit will continue to live on through the countless lives he touched and the legacy he built.

Canales’ phrase “You got it, take it away,” during performance introductions became linked to the icon.

The Tejano music community reacted to the news on social media Thursday afternoon.

“Hoy la musica texana esta de luto porque uno de sus mas grandes impulsores del genero regional Tex-Mex se nos adelanto en el camino. (Today, Tejano music is in mourning because one of its greatest promoters of the regional Tex-Mex genre passed us on the road),” Hidalgo native and Tejano great Ramon Ayala shared on his Facebook page.”

Janet Vackar, of the Bert Ogden Auto Group, shared dealership commercials from the 1980s featuring Canales and her father, Bert Ogden, to her Facebook page.

“Beautiful memories … Dale Gas Johnny!” Vackar wrote.

“Johnny’s influence on #SouthTexas culture, Tejano music, and his support for emerging artists will never be forgotten,” state Sen. Morgan LaMantia posted on Facebook.

“Just heard that a true pioneer in Tejano music, Johnny Canales has passed away,” state Rep. Terry Canales wrote. “Johnny will be greatly missed by many in our South Texas community.”

Canales is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years, Nora, and their two daughters, Zelestial and Miroslava.

A documentary about Canales, titled “Take It Away: The Rise and Fall of Tejano Hollywood,” is said to be in post-production, Tejano Nation reported last month.