Trini Lopez, accomplished guitarist, singer and actor, died of complications due to COVID-19 at the age of 83. The singer was born Trinidad Lopez III to Mexican immigrants in Dallas.
Lopez had been in and out of a hospital for about six weeks before passing away. He took his last breath around 5 a.m. at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, said songwriting partner Joe Chavira.
Chavira, who said he met Lopez in 2015, said the singer never married and had no children. The last song Lopez wrote with Chavira, ‘If By Now,’ was performed for a half-hour coronavirus fundraiser. It is expected to air over the weekend on local television in Santa Barbara.
Filmmaker P. David Ebersole, who just finished shooting a documentary on Lopez with Todd Hughes, confirmed the death to the Associated Press.
Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters paid a tribute writing: “Today the world sadly lost yet another legend, Trini Lopez. Trini not only left a beautiful musical legacy of his own, but also unknowingly helped shape the sound of the Foo Fighters from day one. Every album we have ever made, from the first to the latest, was recorded with my red 1967 Trini Lopez signature guitar. It is the sound of our band, and my most prized possession from the day I bought it in 1992. Thank you, Trini for all of your contributions. You will be missed by many, remembered by all. RIP Trini Lopez”
Today the world sadly lost yet another legend, Trini Lopez. Trini not only left a beautiful musical legacy of his own, but also unknowingly helped shape the sound of the Foo Fighters from day one. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/9KRJXDXeWK
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) August 11, 2020
Trini Lopez was mentored by Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra and designed two instruments for the Gibson Guitar Corporation. Lopez formed his first when he was. He was spotted by Holly, who recommended him to his producer Norman Petty. Lopez got a regular gig playing at PJ’s nightclub in West Hollywood where he caught the eye of Sinatra.
His debut live album, Trini Lopez at PJ’s, was released in 1963 and featured his version of Pete Seeger’s If I Had A Hammer. This song sold more than a million copies.
A documentary about his life, titled My Name is Lopez, is currently nearing completion.