In a speech at the end of his final concert on Sunday, the singer, whose real name is Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez, told the crowd that he had come to the realization that “living a successful life is not the same as living a purposeful life.”
“For a long time I’ve tried filling a hole in my life that no one could fill. I tried to fill it and find a purpose in my life … On many occasions it seemed as if I was happy but something was missing for me to feel complete,” he said on stage in hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“I have to tell you that those days are over, somebody has been able to fill the hole that I was feeling for so long,” the 46-year-old singer continued.
“I am not ashamed to tell the whole world that Jesus lives in me and that I will live for him,” he said, adding that “all of the tools that I have in my possession such as music, social networks, platforms, a microphone – everything that Jesus gave me – are now for the kingdom.”
Daddy Yankee first announced that he would retire in March 2022, after a career spanning more than 30 years.
“This race, which has been a marathon, finally sees the finish line. Now, I am going to enjoy what all of you have given me,” the singer said in a video statement posted to YouTube at the time. “People say that I made this genre worldwide, but it was you who gave me the key to open the doors to make it the biggest in the world.”
But before he hung up his microphone for good, he released a final album, “Legendaddy,” on March 24, and embarked on one last tour.
In the course of his career, Daddy Yankee sold more than 30 million records.
“Gasolina,” one of his best-known songs, came out in 2004 and is often credited for introducing reggaeton to an international audience.
In 2017, Yankee collaborated with fellow Puerto Rican Luis Fonsi in “Despacito,” a record-breaking single that anchored itself at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 for 16 weeks. It is also YouTube’s second most-streamed video of all time.
CNN’s Marysabel Huston-Crespo contributed to this report.