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Quit' Not me

Hong Kong, Aug. 3 (AP): Pop music heartthrob Ricky Martin today dismissed rumours that he might quit, vowing to keep belting out songs until his last breath and to soothe people in Asia in the wake of the SARS crisis.

“I love what I do. I don’t know how to do anything else. I want to die on stage,” Martin said at a news conference in Hong Kong to promote his latest album, Almas del Silencio.

Dressed in a striped shirt unbuttoned to reveal a jade buddha pendant, the 31-year-old Puerto Rican singer also said he was particularly glad to be touring this region with stops in Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok because it lets him try to touch people’s hearts after the recent SARS outbreak devastated families and economies across Asia.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome first emerged in southern China in November. It moved on to kill more than 800 people worldwide, mostly in Asia.

Martin said he was here to get people to “enjoy life as it comes”, despite “this pain that we all went through, not only the people here in Hong Kong, or the people in some parts of Asia. The entire planet suffered this”.

“We know about today. We don’t know about tomorrow. So just let’s embrace each other with love and peace and freedom and let’s just be,” he said.

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