Celebrating Tito Puente – Tito Puente Biography & Cause of Death

Celebrating Tito Puente! In line with the National Heritage Hispanic Month observed in the USA, Google Doodle is celebrating the life and legacy of the popular musician, Tito Puente on October 11. Celebrating Tito Puente

National Heritage Month is observed yearly from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate the history and contributions of American citizens who have their roots traced back to Spain, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.

Over the past years, other notable figures have been honored with animated drawings. However, October 11 has been set aside to honor Tito Puente. He was a renowned musician, songwriter, percussionist, and band leader. He was also an influence in Latin and Jazz in the USA for over 50 years.

Celebrating Tito Puente

Also known as the “King of Latin Music”, Tito Puente is the force behind which Latin music is on the global map. His tireless efforts and hits helped to make Caribbean styles including mambo, salsa, Afro-Cuban jazz, cha-cha, and lots more popular in the USA. He was one of the most influential figures in Latin music and jazz in the US.

Tito Puente was renowned for his skills in timbales and other musical instruments. He is also credited for the way he mixed musical instruments and jazz with Afro-Cuban music. During his lifetime, Tito Puente released hundreds of albums. He received several accolades during his years of performing and posthumous awards after his death for his contribution to Latin music.

Tito Puente Biography

Tito Puente, the renowned Latin musician, was born on April 20, 1923, in Harlem Hospital Center, New York. He was born to parents who were both Latin American immigrants; Earnest and Felicia Puente.   He was named Ernesto Antonio Jr. by his parents.

Although Tito Puente grew up in Spanish Harlem, his family relocated frequently. While growing up, he was surrounded by Puerto Ricans and was noted to have shown a lot of interest in music even at a young age. At the age of 13, Tito Puente started his career as a musician. He learned to play a lot of instruments including the saxophone, timbales, percussion, and vibraphone.

In 1942, Tito Puente was accepted into the Navy where he served for three years during World War II by playing different kinds of instruments. After his discharge from service, he returned from the workforce and enrolled in the Julliard School of Music with money from the G.I Bill. There, he completed his formal studies in orchestration and theory.

In 1948, he formed his band, Tito Puente Orchestra (now known as Latin Music Sensation). This band attracted a lot of audiences. He released his best-selling album in 1958 titled “Dance Mania”. Over the decades of his performance, Tito Puente released a lot of notable albums and hits including the popular “Babarabatiri”, “Ran Kan Kan”, “Oye Como Va”, and a lot more. In his career, Tito Puente performed with a lot of jazz performers and orchestras and received lots of credits and awards.

Tito Puente Cause of Death

Tito Puente died on May 31, 2000. After a performance in Puerto Rico, he suffered a massive heart attack and was flown to NYU Langone Health, New York City for surgery. The operation was to repair his heart valve. However, he could not make it.

After his death, he was recognized posthumously at the first Latin Grammy Awards. Although Tito Puente is late, his music career is still known to this day and his legacy lives on!


What Was Tito Puente Famous for?

Tito Puente was an international singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer, and percussionist. He was not only famous for his Latin American songs and dance styles but he is also credited for his popularizing Latin music in America and in globally.

Was Tito Puente Married?

Tito Puente was married to Margaret Ascencio. They got married in 1963 and were together till his passing away in the year 2000. They also had children together.

How Old was Tito Puente When He Died?

Tito Puente was 77 years of age when he died after a heart attack in New York City. He died after undergoing heart surgery.

Who are Tito Puente’s Parents?

Tito Puente was born in April 1923 to Ernest and Felicia Eduardo. Both of his parents are Latin American immigrants.

Did Tito Puente Have Children?

Yes, the renowned Latin musician had three children with his wife; Audrey Puente, Richard Puente and Tito Puente Jr. Tito Puente’s son was the percussionist in the band, Foxy in the 1970s.

However, he died in 2004. His daughter, Audrey Puente is an American meteorologist. Meanwhile, his youngest son, Tito Puente Jr. continued in his father’s profession.

What Drums Did Tito Puente Play?

During his lifetime and years of performing, Tito Puente played musical instruments including percussion, saxophone, and lots more. However, before his death, the timbales became his main musical instrument.



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