Cuban bass player Israel López "Cachao," whose place in history as one of the creators of the mambo was forgotten literally for decades before he was rediscovered and launched to a broad audience in the 1990s, has died. He was 89 years old.

Perhaps no other Latin music bass player was as well-known on a massive scale as Cachao, who after nearly 30 years in relatively obscure exile, was "rediscovered" by actor and musician Andy García. Garcia would subsequently produce the albums "Master Sessions, Vol I" and "Vol. 2" as well as the documentary "Cachao: Como Su Ritmo No Hay Otro" ("Cachao: Like His Rhythm There Is No Other") , all of which catapulted Cachao to widespread recognition and fame. Praised by jazz musicians, Cuban music lovers and the mainstream in general, the affable Cachao was reborn as a star in his late 70s and made the most of it, turning out a series of impeccable recordings. Most recently, he collaborated in Gloria Estefan's album '90 Millas."

Cachao's success can be traced to his virtuosity—grounded in classical training—as well as his inventive descargas, or jam sessions, and his soulful compositions. But he is best remembered as the man who invented the mambo. The claim can be traced back to the 1930s in Cuba, when López and his brother Orestes—prolific danzón composers—revolutionized Cuban music with a composition they titled "Danzón Mambo." The piece laid the groundwork for what would become the mambo revolution, carried out by Dámaso Pérez Prado. While Perez Prado left Cuba for Mexico and later the United States, popularizing the dance craze as he went along, Cachao remained in Cuba until 1962.

After a brief stay in Spain, he came to the United States, where he worked in relative obscurity, until discovered by García and subsequently winning both Grammy and Latin Grammy awards for "Ahora Si."

"I had the great privilege of collaborating with Cachao as his producer and band member since 1990," said García in a statement. "Together we recorded four records... Maestro, your music has accompanied me all my life and will continue to do so until we meet again. You have been my teacher, and you took me in like a son. So I will continue to rejoice with your music and carry our traditions wherever I go, in your honor."

Cachao would record solo albums with Emilio Estefan's Crescent Moon Records, and later, with Univision Records. Most recently, he had been signed on by label/management Eventus.

Cachao was hospitalized in Coral Gables Hospital in Miami in mid March. He died the evening of March 22 due to kidney failure. Cachao never returned to his native Cuba. His brother Orestes died there in 1991.