"He completed his tour with great bravery," his wife, Caridad Diaz said. "We are deeply affected by his death."
A legend of the Cuban music scene in the 1950s and 1960s, Ferrer fell into obscurity and poverty. He was shining shoes when the American guitarist Ry Cooder found him. Ferrer said: "An angel came and picked me up. He said, 'Chico, come and do this record'."
The Buena Vista Social Club was formed, and the 1997 album of the same name was a worldwide hit, selling more than four million copies. The album won a Grammy, the highest musical accolade in America, in 1998.
A solo career followed for Ferrer, granting him riches, world tours, and a further Grammy nomination in 2004. But, as a Cuban, he was refused US entry to attend the award ceremony.