Luis Rossi, former head of La Raza newspaper, dies

Rossi bought La Raza in 1983 and turned it into one of the most important Spanish media outlets in the Midwest.

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Luis Rossi, who bought La Raza in 1983 and sold it in 2003, died Dec. 26.

Luis Rossi, who bought La Raza in 1983 and sold it in 2003, transformed the small weekly into one of the most important Spanish media outlets in Chicago.

Provided

Luis Rossi, a Uruguayan immigrant pivotal in Chicago’s renowned Spanish entertainment and media landscape, has died. He was 71.

Rossi died Thursday from pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Alma Rossi. He spent Christmas at home surrounded by family and friends.

“We celebrated his birthday on Christmas Eve and then we had family over for Christmas,” said Alma Rossi. “His last days were calm. He went quickly. He didn’t suffer much.”

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014, she said. He was in remission after initial treatments, but his condition worsened about two years ago, and he had been receiving chemotherapy.

Rossi’s death was first reported by his former newspaper, La Raza. Rossi bought La Raza in 1983 and sold it in 2003. In those 20 years, Rossi transformed the small weekly into one of the most important Spanish media outlets in Chicago and across the Midwest.

In the late 1980s, Rossi met Ivan Fernández, a Cuban entertainment impresario who became part-owner of the Aragon Ballroom in Uptown in 1994. Rossi would promote Fernández’s events at the Aragon across Spanish media outlets and together they transformed the theater into a staple tour stop for some of Latin America’s biggest acts.

The Aragon Ballroom in 1990. After Luis Rossi’s friend Ivan Fernandez became a part-owner of the Uptown concert hall in 1994, Rossi would help promote the Latin American acts appearing at the venue. He later took an ownership stake, as well. Rossi died Thursday.

The Aragon Ballroom in 1990. After Luis Rossi’s friend Ivan Fernandez became a part-owner of the Uptown concert hall in 1994, Rossi would help promote the Latin American acts appearing at the venue. He later took an ownership stake, as well. Rossi died Thursday.

Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Rossi bought an ownership stake in the Aragon in the early 2000s, Fernández said. And in 2014, venue operator Live Nation also became part-owner of the 93-year-old theater, which changed its name to Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom in August.

Rossi “was always a serious person, a pleasure to work with,” Fernández said. “His death is a loss for our industry and for the community at large. I think he’s someone that’s going to be missed for a long time.”

Rossi is survived by his wife and his adopted son, Bryan Rossi.

Malec & Sons Funeral Home, 6000 N. Milwaukee Ave., is handling arrangements. Visitation, originally scheduled for the funeral home, has been moved to the Aragon, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave.; it will be held there on Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.

A funeral Mass will be held Friday at Holy Name Catholic Cathedral.

Carlos Ballesteros is a corps members of Report for America,a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South Side and West Side.

Luis (right) and son Bryan Rossi.

Luis Rossi in 2016 with his son Bryan Rossi, then 11.

Courtesy of Alma Rossi

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