Miami Cuban bassist and composer Israel "Cachao" Lopez, who is credited with pioneering the mambo style of music, died Saturday. He was 89.
Known simply as Cachao, the Grammy-winning musician had fallen ill in the past week and died surrounded by family members at Coral Gables Hospital, spokesman Nelson Albareda said.
Cachao left communist Cuba and came to the United States in the early 1960s. He continued to perform into his late 80s, including a performance after the death of trombonist Generoso Jimenez in September 2007.
Cuban-American actor Andy Garcia, who made a 1993 documentary about the bassist's career, credited Cachao with being a major influence in Cuban musical history and said his passing marked the end of an era.