By Rosy Cordero
May 31, 2020 at 05:20 PM EDT
Tito Puente
Credit: Paul Bergen/Redferns

Edward James Olmos has announced he's developing TV, Film, and virtual reality projects based on the life of legendary musician Tito Puente, on the twentieth anniversary of his death.

Olmos is working in collaboration with the Puente family on a docuseries and feature film, with the former featuring never-seen-before images and footage from his estate and the latter highlighting his rise as a Latin music artist and his struggles with bringing his sound into the mainstream.

The virtual reality experience will serve as a musical tribute album featuring contemporary artists performing many of Puente's hits. His biggest hit to date is "Oye Como Va," a song he composed and performed in 1962 but became a smash hit eight years later when rocker Carlos Santana released his interpretation on his Abraxas album.

But his musical repertoire includes more than 119 albums and collaborations with other legendary musicians: Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, and many more.

“This will be the greatest Tito Puente experience ever. I want this story to celebrate life and hope, especially in these dark times,” Olmos said in a statement. “Tito’s story is timeless because it shows the entire world that you can start from humble beginnings, but through your passion, discipline, and hard work — and a great sense of humor — you can still change the world.”

During Puente's lifetime, he made appearances in TV shows and films including Armed and Dangerous, Mambo Kings, The Cosby Show, and Sesame Street. He most famously got the Matt Groening animated treatment when he appeared on The Simpsons two-part episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns?" in 1995.

Puente was known affectionately as "The King of Mambo" but his contributions extended to multiple genres including Latin Jazz. He won seven Grammy Awards for his contributions to music, with both a Grammy and Latin Grammy Award posthumously in 2001 for his collaboration with Eddie Palmieri on Obra Maestra and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Puente suffered a massive heart attack after a show in Puerto Rico on May 31 and was flown home to New York City to have a heart valve repaired. He later died from complications. Olmos was one of many stars who attended his funeral held at the Riverside Memorial Chapel on the Upper West Side on June 4.

Puente was 77.

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