Chill out pioneer & Ibiza legend DJ José Padilla dies aged 64

Alexandre Trochut

Known by many as the “Godfather of Chill Out” the Grammy-nominated’ legend & his sunset DJ sets at Café del Mar will always be remembered.

Suffering from colon cancer for several months, he passed away last Sunday at the age of 64 on the island of Ibiza. The catalan artist embodied the sense of celebration as invented by Ibiza at the end of the 1980s, pioneer of the “chill-out” movement, a very soft and melancholy genre of electronic music.

José Padilla had never really left Ibiza since he had landed there in 1975. After having played his records in many establishments, in 1991 he became the resident DJ of Café Del Mar. There, he popularized his performances. more than eight or even ten hours on the decks.


A soothing and relaxing music

His name will remain mainly linked to its Latin derivative, the “balearic” sound, bewitching music on the borders of soul, funk, flamenco, or even psychedelic rock. He was one of the legends of the Café del Mar nightclub, his seamless and artistic amalgamation of funk, soul, jazz, disco and rock defined the sound of Ibiza.

José’s 40 years career has left an ever present and positive mark on the island, his residence at Café Del Mar, during sunset, inspired a series of mixes of the same name for the establishment’s 40th anniversary. – it will not be the same without him and he will be deeply missed by many.


Nostalgic for the beginnings of Ibiza

In his latest messages, the DJ confided to be in a bad financial situation after “five months without income” due to the coronavirus pandemic and had appealed for donations to his fans in order to meet his needs. He never hide it, for him, the party rhymed with artificial paradises. Even if over the years, the hedonistic spirit of the beginnings will quickly fade under the onslaught of mass tourism.


“ The 70s and 80s were the days when people still had respect for drugs. Before taking LSD they were getting in shape, getting ready to commune with nature, smoking a joint was a social event, not an exciting one like today ”

– José Padilla


More about José Padilla

Born in Barcelona, Padilla is the originator of chill, the daddy of Balearic. He moved to the island in the mid-70s and launched his residency at Cafe del Mar in 1991, providing an alternative to that period’s acid house and hyperspace techno with a calmer, more relaxed sound that exists permanently at sunset. In the video above, FACT traveled to Ibiza to meet him & talk about his legacy, the future of Cafe Del Mar and his latest album So Many Colours.