The founder and leader of Cuba's Los Van Van band Juan Formell has died at the age of 71.

The acclaimed bassist, composer, and arranger passed away in Havana, Cuba on Thursday (01May14).

The news of his death was announced on Cuban state television, and a presenter said he died "suddenly" but did not detail the cause of death.

Formell's groundbreaking career spanned more than four decades. He formed Los Van Van in 1969 and they went on to becoming one of the most influential tropical dance bands in Cuba.

Formell was praised for his take on the evolution of the Cuban lifestyle over the years, with his music "likened to Havana's newspaper for lyrics", according to

In 1999, he won a Grammy Award for Latin/Best Salsa Performance for his work on the album Llego Van Van (Van Van Is Here), and last year (13), he was honoured with a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.