Cuban band leader Juan Formell dead at 71
The cause was liver disease, his family said.
Thousands of tearful mourners, many singing Formell's most popular songs, attended a public wake in centralHavana on Friday.
Havana-born Formell created Los Van Van in 1969 and won a Grammy in 1999 for the album "Van Van is Here." He also won a Latin Grammy last year for musical excellence.
Los Van Van mixed son with salsa in a musical style known in Cuba as songo.
Among the group's hits were "El negro no tiene na'," "Te traigo" and "Yuya Martinez."
An urn with Formell's cremains was put on display at a theater, where musicians, politician and fans paid their respects.
"To me, he was a master, a friend, a brother and even a father," said the musician Cesar "Puppy" Pedroso, 69, a Los Van Van band mate for 35 years.
"He was a man with a big heart and always open to teaching younger musicians," said Pavel Molina, 38, a member of Los Van Van for 11 years.
Formell first learned music from his father, a flautist and pianist, later emerging as a composer and guitarist with Cuban musicians such as Felix Guerrero, Rafael Somavilla, Armando Romeu, Antonio Taño y Orestes Urfe, according to the 1992 book, "The Dictionary of Cuban Music."
In 1959, when Fidel Castro rose to power after the Cuban Revolution, Formell played bass for the newly formed National Revolutionary Police. He later joined the traditional Cuban orchestras of Peruchin and Rubalcaba and played cabaret music with the orchestra Caribe. In 1968, he joined the charanga group Reve, where he was credited with innovating that style of music.