The Grammy Award-winning musician reportedly died in Havana after suffering a heart attack.
Its “a very sad day for Cuban music and fans of Cuban music,” said Galban’s manager in a statement. “Galban’s enormous impact worldwide with his unique guitar sound and warm smile will be missed by many.”
Galban was born in 1931 in the small village of Gibara and made his professional debut aged 14 with the Orquesta Villa Blanca. He later moved to Havana in 1956 to play in the clubs and bars of the capital city and even years later, joined Los Zafiros, which fused various styles of music such as bolero, calypso and rock with Cuban “filin” music.
Later, as part of the Buena Vista Social Club – brought together by American guitarist and producer Ry Cooder – Galban enjoyed success with a hit album.
In 2003 the guitarist teamed up with Cooder to record Mambo Sinuendo, which won a Grammy the following year for best pop instrumental album.