Tito Puente is the latest star to be celebrated by Google Doodle.
In honor of U.S. Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs until Saturday, the life and legacy of the American “Nuyorican” musician, and internationally renowned entertainer, are being marked with an animated video on Google‘s homepage.
Puente’s Doodle is illustrated by New York-based Puerto Rican artist Carlos Aponte.
The illustrator said of paying homage to Puente: “Tito was part of my musical experience growing up in Puerto Rico. My aunt introduced me to Tito Puente via La Lupe, a famous singer in Puerto Rico and New York.
“Tito was like a Svengali for talents like Celia Cruz. He was a household name. So Tito was part of my Puerto Rican soundtrack.”
Newsweek has everything you need to know about the late Tito Puente and why he was famous.
Who Was Tito Puente?
Tito Puente was a Latin musician, songwriter, bandleader, producer and percussionist. He was born Ernest Antonio Puente Jr. on April 20, 1923.
Puente grew up in Spanish Harlem in New York City with his Puerto Rican parents, and his Latin heritage had a huge impact on his future career.
After leading his first orchestra in the 1940s, Puente became known for his dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions. His most famous song is “Oye Como Va,” which grew in popularity when it was covered by rock band Santana in 1970.
Puente enjoyed a successful 50-year career, during which he won six Grammy Awards and was nominated for 12, and was even given the key to New York City in 1969.
He was married to Margaret Asencio from 1963 until his passing and the couple shared two children; Audrey Puente and Tito Puente Jr.
The Google Doodle that celebrates Puente is an animated clip that shows us Puente’s childhood home at 110th Street and Third Avenue in Spanish Harlem. After his death, 110th Street was renamed Tito Puente Way.
In the Doodle, we see a young, budding musician banging on pots and pans in his bedroom before the clip follows Puente’s journey to becoming the “King of the Timbales.”
The Google Doodle has been released on the one-year anniversary of the unveiling of the Tito Puente Monument, which took place in his hometown of East Harlem, New York, on October 10, 2021.
How Did Tito Puente Die?
Tito Puente died on June 1, 2000, at New York University Hospital. He was 77 years old.
A spokesman for the musician said that he had undergone surgery in the early hours of June 1, fallen into a coma and died that night.
The Los Angeles Times said after Puente’s death that he had been hospitalized for heart trouble a month before his passing, while on tour in Puerto Rico.
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