Juan Carlos Formell, bassist of the historic Cuban group Los Van Van, died on Friday night at age 59 as a result of a heart attack after leaving the stage in the middle of a concert in New York.
The death of the musician, son of the founder of Los Van Van, Juan Formell, was confirmed in a statement by the Cuban Institute of Music.
The artist felt unwell on stage during a performance of the group at the Lehman Center in the Bronx, which forced to interrupt the show, although it was resumed a half hour later with another bassist in his place.
Juan Carlos Formell, bassist of Los Van Van. He died at the age of 59 in the middle of the show.
Formell, meanwhile, was reportedly taken to a nearby hospital.
A successful career
Born in Havana in 1964, the musician studied at the Alejandro García Caturla and Amadeo Roldán conservatories in Havana and completed his training at the National School of Art of Cuba, before settling in New York in 1993.
According to the Cuban Institute of Music, he stood out for his peculiar style as an instrumentalist accompanying several figures of Cuban jazz such as Emiliano Salvador, Guillermo Fragoso and Joseíto González, director of the Rumbavana Orchestra.
Guitarist, bassist and songwriter, Formell recorded the 1999 Grammy-nominated album Songs from a Little Blue House, the first of several solo albums. After his father's death in 2014, he joined Los Van Van as a bassist.
The Cuban group performed on Friday, May 26 in New York as part of a tour of the United States marked by problems, as the band was forced to initially postpone that concert due to visa difficulties and cancel another performance in Miami.
Grief and sadness
Immediately, musicians, cultural institutions and fans on social networks lamented in Cuba the death of bassist Juan Carlos Formell.
Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Inés María Chapman lamented the news on Twitter and sent condolences to his relatives.
"Once again death takes away one of our musicians. Our condolences to the family and the Van Van group, "said, for its part, EGREM, the State Company of Recordings and Musical Editions.
The Cuban group Havana D Primera lamented the news in its networks and described Formell as a "being of light" who "passes to another dimension."
The Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor orchestra recognized the Cuban musician as a "dear brother and friend."
The state-run Cuban Institute of Music (ICM) also joined the condolences and in a press release highlighted the work of the Cuban musician with Los Van Van:
"During his work with this distinguished orchestra of Cuban popular music, he developed a commendable work, especially in recent years, under the direction of his brother Samuel Formell, and contributed decisively to keep alive the musical legacy of his father," he said.