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Edward James Olmos to celebrate Tito Puente's legacy with several multimedia projects

Edward James Olmos, left, and the late Tito

Edward James Olmos, left, and the late Tito Puente appear in a composite image. Credit: Composite: Getty Images / Emma McIntyre, left; AP / Rick Maiman

On the 20th anniversary of Tito Puente's death, actor-producer Edward James Olmos announced he has partnered with the family of the Latin music giant on a variety of film, television and music projects.

"I want this story to celebrate life and hope, especially in these dark times," Emmy Award winner Olmos, 73, said Sunday in a statement to Deadline.com, the first to report the collaboration. "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."

He added on Twitter, "It took sometime [sic] but it was truly worth it … an Icon of Latin Jazz …"

Olmos is working with bandleader Tito Puente Jr. and others including his director-producer son Michael D. Olmos (2019's "Windows on the World”) to develop a documentary series, a virtual-reality experience and a tribute album.

"The history of Tito Puente through his extensive career and timeless music will be told and shared with fans of all generations young and old," said Puente Jr. in a statement. "We hope to inspire audiences around the world with his story and his rich musical legacy. Eddie is a huge fan of my dad's music and was the one who gave the eulogy at my dad's funeral."

Tito Puente, known as El Rey, the King of Mambo and the King of Latin Jazz, among other sobriquets, earned six Grammys and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Raised in Spanish Harlem and educated at The Juilliard School, he was, said The New York Times in his obituary, "The most important Latin musician of the last half century and a key figure in the fusion of Latin music with jazz."

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