Cuban musician Juan Formell, leader and founder of Los Van Van, died in Havana, state television reported. He was 71.
His son, drummer Samuel Formell, told Efe that his father died from complications of a liver disease that kept him hospitalized for the past week.
“His liver was really not functioning well, there was bleeding and a low hemoglobin count,” Samuel, one of the artist’s six children, said.
“I still can’t believe it - yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon he was listening to music with me, but then he got worse,” the late musician’s son said, adding that his father’s remains will be cremated.
Juan Formell was a composer, double-bass player and guitarist with a long artistic career.
Born on Aug. 2, 1942 in Havana, Formell first studied music with his father Francisco, a flutist, pianist and arranger, after which he continued to learn as a self-taught student.
In his studies as a composer and guitarist he was guided by such musicians as Felix Guerrero, Rafael Somavilla, Armando Romeu, Antonio Taño and Orestes Urfe.
Juan Formell and Los Van Van, the orchestra he founded in 1969 and which has remained a favorite of the Cuban public ever since, received a Grammy in 1999 for his album “Llego…Van Van” and several nominations for other works.
In November 2013, Formell received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for Artistic Excellence.