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Latin Jazz Drummer Ray Barretto Dies

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HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Ray Barretto, a Grammy-winning Latin jazz percussionist known for integrating the conga drum into jazz, died Friday, officials said. He was 76.

Barretto had undergone heart bypass surgery in January and suffered from pneumonia, said George Rivera, a friend and family spokesman. He died at Hackensack University Medical Center with his wife and two sons by his bedside.

“He was suffering too much, so the Lord took him," Fidel Estrada, a family friend, told The Associated Press in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Barretto won a Grammy for best Tropical Latin performance in 1989 for the song “Ritmo en el Corazon" with Celia Cruz.

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