Pedro Knight, the Cuban trumpeter, arranger and bandleader who was salsa icon Celia Cruz's longtime husband and perennial companion, died February 3 at a hospital in Arcadia, Ca. He was 85 years old. No specific cause of death was cited, but Knight had suffered from multiple ailments that worsened after the death of his wife in 2003.

A well-known trumpet player in Cuba in the 1950s, Knight was the lead trumpeter with the fabled Sonora Matancera, through which he met his wife, who entered the orchestra as a singer. He immediately fell for her, but, in a story that has often been told, she initially rejected his advances. Eventually, Knight and Cruz fled Cuba, as did many other musicians, following Fidel Castro's rise to power. The couple wed in 1962 and were inseparable from that moment on, living one of the most public love stories in contemporary Latin music.

Knight abdicated his own career to help helm his wife's, and was with her virtually everywhere she went, often getting onstage with her. Cruz affectionately referred to the dapper Knight, a tall, slim man, as her "Cabecita de Algodón" (Cotton-head), in a reference to his white mane of curly hair.

Following Cruz's death, Knight had been mired not just by health problems, but by lawsuits filed by his daughter, Ernestina Knight (not by Cruz) and Cruz's sister, Gladys Bequer, who both claimed money from Cruz's estate. Knight is survived by an adopted son, Luis Falcon. He will be buried in New York, alongside his wife.

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