1924 – Born on October 21st in Havana, Cuba. A vibrant, tireless performer, she has won over several generations of listeners with her catchy Afro-Cuban rhythms. She was commonly known as the Queen of Salsa.
1940 – She began to sing on Cuban radio programs.
1947-1950 – She decided to abandon any thought of being a schoolteacher, she studied at Havana’s Conservatory of Music.
– Hired as lead singer for the island’s top dance band La Sonora Matancera.
1962 – Married to Salsero Pedro Knight on July 14th.
1966 – Cruz joined the orchestra of Tito Puente, with whom she has performed many hundreds of times.
1973 – She sang a role in Hommy-A Latin Opera, by Larry Harlow, in Carnegie Hall. As a performer she is known for her gaudy costumes as well as her musical skills, which include the art of improvisation.
1986 – The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations gave her the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (Mayor’s Liberty Award).
1994 – Received the National Medal of Arts.
1995 – She appeared as an actress in the film "The Perez Family", "Fires Within", "Salsa" and "The Mambo Kings".
– She has recorded scores of albums. She released her seventy-fourth, Irrepetible (Unrepeateable). She has also worked Grammies and other musical awards, made successful international tours, and had been honored at special concerts, including sold-out performances at Madison Square Garden in New York on her birthdays.
2003 – Died from brain cancer on July 16th in Fort Lee, New Jersey.