Frank Amadeo, the longtime president of Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s Estefan Enterprises, died suddenly of a heart attack Friday night (Dec. 11) in his Miami home. He was 57 years old.
Amadeo, a courteous and unfailingly gracious man, worked for the Estefans for nearly 30 years and was an instrumental ally in growing their company into a multimillion dollar enterprise. Amadeo not only managed Gloria Estefan’s career, but also oversaw Estefan Enterprises’ hotels, restaurants and recording studio. Far more than a business associate, Amadeo was widely regarded as part of the extended Estefan family.
“I am devastated, shocked beyond belief and sad beyond words to share with you the sudden and unexpected passing of Frank Joseph Amadeo […] the most trusted ally we could have ever hoped for and an angel to everyone that had the good fortune of knowing him,” wrote Gloria Estefan on her Instagram account.
“In the great journey that is life, few people appear [that can be counted on] in sad moments and in moments of joy,” wrote Emilio Estefan on Instagram. There are not enough words to express the great love and gratitude that we have for Frank Amadeo. A key man in our lives. You are irreplaceable.”
Although Amadeo wasn’t Latin, he was raised in Miami and fell in love with the music of Miami Sound Machine in the group’s early days in the 1980s.
Amadeo was program director at Miami pop radio station Y-100 when he first heard “Dr. Beat,” a boisterous dance track built on Latin percussion and rhythm patterns and brash Latin horns with English vocals, courtesy of Gloria Estefan. His support on the station was instrumental in pushing the track to the top of the charts. Beyond the single, Amadeo became a fan and advocate of the bilingual, bicultural group, sowing the seeds for what would become a lifetime friendship.
In 1992, the Estefans, already established as stars, brought him to Estefan Enterprises as media relations director. Amadeo proved to be a masterful executive whose even temper and charming demeanor allowed him to interact with both industry leaders and artists, and his knowledge of the mainstream music world made him an excellent ambassador for his artists’ music.
Hugely respected in both the Latin and mainstream worlds, Amadeo was known both as a power broker, problem solver and bridge builder. He always returned emails, always found a way to help non-profit ventures, always shared information. As someone who came from radio, he intuitively understood the needs of journalists and media and always managed to extend a thank you for an article or a gesture of support.
“Miami is mourning! Miami Symphony lost one of their most loved producers, advisory board member, right hand of Emilio Estefan and loved friend! We are so sorry for the lost of Frank Amadeo!” read a post on the Miami Symphony’s Facebook page.
According to Miami’s Channel 10, Amadeo is survived by his partner, Ernesto.