Iconic Puerto Rican guitarist Yomo Toro has died in a New York hospital of kidney failure, his family announced Monday. He was 78.

"Funeral arrangements and viewing will be announced shortly. On behalf of the Toro family we wish to thank everyone for their well wishes and outpouring of love and emails and especially for their request for privacy during this time," the National Institute for Latino Policy said in a statement.

Born Victor Guillermo Toro Vega Ramos Rodriguez on July 26, 1933, in Ensenada, Yomo came to be called "the king of the cuatro," a 10-string Puerto Rican guitar.

Toro, nicknamed "Yomo" by his father, began to play music at age 6 and at 15 he formed the La Bandita de la Escuela trio and continued his musical career by performing at events with trios, as well as on the radio program "La montaña canta."

His greatest success came with La Fania, founded in 1968 along with Larry Harlow on the piano, Nicky Marrero and Roberto Roena on percussion, Ray Barreto on the congas, Bobby Valentin on the bass, Alfredo De La Fe on the violin and Colon on the trombone, among others.

Yomo Toro recorded 150 albums over a career of more than five decades and worked extensively with artists from other music genres, including Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon, Linda Rondstadt and David Byrne.

During the 1960's and early '70s, he presented a television program in which he interviewed personalities from the Hispanic world.

The guitarist was admitted to the Montefiore Medical Center and while he was being treated there his wife Minerva and his daughter Denise, as well as other relatives, remained close at hand. EFE