Havana – Guitarist and songwriter Manuel Galban, famous for his work with the Buena Vista Social Club, died in Havana, Cuba's official media said Friday. He was 80.
The media accounts did not mention a cause of death.
Galban came to prominence in the 1960s, when he founded Los Zafiros, a band that featured four singers and himself on guitar.
He gained international renown in 1996 as part of the Buena Vista Social Club project, the brainchild of U.S. musician, composer and producer Ry Cooder, who brought together Galban and other giants of Cuban music such as Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Cachaito Lopez, Compay Segundo, Eliades Ochoa and El Guajiro Mirabal to record and tour.
Galban later won a Grammy for the album "Mambo sinuendo," a solo effort produced by Cooder.
A recipient of Cuba's Order of National Culture, Galban also performed with the Villa Blanca orchestra, Batey and the Afrocuban All Stars, among other acts.
The single "Blue cha cha," recorded by Galban shortly before his death, will be released soon by Spanish label Producciones Montuno.