Tito Puente, Giant Of Latin Music, Dies

Thursday, June 1st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) - Bandleader Tito Puente, who rode to fame on the heels of the 1950s mambo craze and for the next five decades helped define Latin jazz, died Thursday. He was believed to be around 77. Puente died at NYU Medical Center in New York, said his agent, Eddie Rodriguez. Puente recorded more than 100 albums in his more than 60 years in the business. He won his fifth Grammy in February for best traditional tropical Latin performance for "Mambo Birdland" and has been nominated for the music award 10 times. Puente joked that he has profited off the talent of Santana, whose early hits include Puente's "Oye Como Va." "Every time he plays 'Oye Como Va,' I get a nice royalty check," Puente said.