by Robert Domínguez
Salsa music star Willie Colon survived a “life threatening” accident while driving his motor home in North Carolina last week and was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
The Bronx-bred singer, 70, was traveling with his wife Julia in the Outer Banks when he crashed the motor home Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement posted on Twitter Sunday that included a photo of the badly damaged RV. No other vehicles were involved.
“The Colons were pulled from the wreckage and taken to a local hospital,” wrote Colon’s publicist Nell McCarty, adding that his injuries included “head trama [sic] with concussion, lacerations to the scalp that required 16 staples, and fractures to his C1 cervical vertebra.”
Colon was taken to the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Va. He was expected to be moved to a New York City medical center for further treatment as soon as he’s better, according to McCarty.
His wife was treated for lacerations and contusions and released, the statement said.
Nicknamed “El Malo” — The Bad One — Colon was the top-selling artist from the New York City-based Fania Records label that made salsa music a worldwide sensation in the 1970s.
While he mostly recorded solo, he’s best-known for his collaborations with singers Hector Lavoe and especially Ruben Blades. Colon’s 1978 album “Siembra” with Blades is considered the best-selling salsa recording in history.
Colon parlayed his musical fame into a second career as an activist and would-be politician. He ran unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in 1994 and New York City public advocate in 2001, and has served as an adviser to New York Mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg.
(New York Daily News contributed to this article)