February 10, 2009 / 11:02 PM / 10 years ago

Buena Vista bassist "Cachaito" Lopez dies at 76

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban bassist Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez, who rose to international fame as a member of the Buena Vista Social Club band, has died at 76 due to complications following prostate surgery, Cuban state media said on Tuesday.

Lopez was one of a group of aging Cuban musical stars who were largely forgotten until U.S. musician Ry Cooder brought them together in 1996.

Cooder and German director Wim Wenders made the documentary “Buena Vista Social Club” that drew a global audience to the group’s traditional Cuban music. The bestselling album of the same name won a Grammy in 1998.

Lopez’ death was “an irreparable loss for Cuban music,” state media quoted Buena Vista Social Club percussionist Amadito Valdes as saying.

Several other members of the band have died in recent years, including singers Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Pio Leyva and pianist Ruben Gonzalez.

Reporting by Nelson Acosta; editing by Jeff Franks and Pascal Fletcher

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