Latino superstar Ricky Martin has announced on his official website that he is gay, ending years of speculation about his sexuality.

In the online letter, Martin confirmed: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

He said that he had listened to people’s advice about staying in the closet in the past: “Many people told me: ‘Ricky it’s not important’, ‘it’s not worth it’, ‘all the years you’ve worked and everything you’ve built will collapse’, ‘many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature.'”

The 38 year old star, who has started writing his memoirs, explained: “These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.

“This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment… What will happen from now on? It doesn’t matter. I can only focus on what’s happening to me in this moment.”

Last year, the singer – who had previously refused to answer questions about his sexuality – told Spanish-language TV Aqui magazine that “his heart could belong to a woman or a man.” Back in 2005, Martin commented to Barbara Walters, “I think that sexuality is something that each individual should deal with in their own way. And that’s all I have to say about that.”

Puerto Rico-born Martin began his career as a member of the boy band Menudo, and later became a soap actor in the US. He reached the heights of international stardom when his solo single Livin’ la Vida Loca topped the charts around the world in 1999. He is the father of twin boys from a surrogate mother and is reportedly working on a new album.

“When someone like Ricky Martin comes out, hundreds of millions of people now have a cultural connection with an artist, a celebrity and, perhaps most importantly, a father who happens to be gay,” said Jarrett Barrios, President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

“His decision to model this kind of openness and honesty can lead to greater acceptance for countless gay people in the US, in Latin America and worldwide,” added Barrios.

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