José Padilla, Ibiza DJ who defined chillout music, dies aged 64

Ben Beaumont-Thomas
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Facebook</span>
Photograph: Facebook

José Padilla, the Spanish DJ who helped define chillout music in the 1990s, has died aged 64 from colon cancer.

An update on his Facebook page reads: “It is with great sadness that we bring you the news that José passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday night here on his beloved island of Ibiza … Now he has gone and the sunset in Ibiza will never be the same without him, but the beautiful music of José Padilla will stay with us forever.”

Padilla was born in Girona in 1955 but moved to Ibiza in 1976, and began DJing in the island’s clubs. He made his name as resident DJ at Café del Mar, the San Antonio bar that became famous for pairing relaxed music with sunset vistas.

After selling bootleg mixtapes alongside his DJ sets, Padilla created the hugely successful Café del Mar compilation series in 1993, giving dance music fans a morning-after soundtrack during the clubbing boom of the 1990s.

In a statement on Twitter, the bar said: “José Padilla chilled a generation of clubbers and his art touched the lives of millions. He will always be remembered as the Godfather of Chillout, creator of Café del Mar compilations, and true Ibiza Legend.” Dance music institutions including Ministry of Sound and Defected Records also paid tribute.

Padilla’s Café del Mar success led to wider fame as a DJ, with numerous appearances on the BBC’s Essential Mix series. He also made his own music, with his 2001 album Navigator nominated for a Latin Grammy.

He made his cancer diagnosis public in July and asked for donations for his healthcare, saying: “My situation is very bad, I am completely broken after 5 months with no income whatsoever and no way to pay my rent.”

The post on his Facebook page continues: “His family and friends would like to say thank you to everybody who sent donations and messages of support to help make his last few months easier, and to all the staff of Can Misses Hospital for taking care of him until the end.”

Others paying tribute included DJ and Bestival founder Rob da Bank, who said Padilla was a “massive influence” who “made me cry with a beautifully synced sunset ... he made so many moments like that for people”.