The Tragic Death Of Carlos Santana's Father

Hard to tell which is more entertaining — the artist who kind of carries on a family tradition (the Barrymores have been producing actors for generations, not to mention Bach after Bach after Bach after....) or someone who just springs up without any apparent gene pool interference. For Carlos Santana, it was in the blood. Born July 20, 1947 in Autlán de Navarro, Mexico, Carlos had the good fortune to be parented by a professional violinist and singer, José. Carlos's first exposure to music-making was taking up the violin himself as a child, says Biography, but it didn't take. Fortunately for all of us, electric guitar did take.

José was born in 1913, according to his obituary in Variety. Padre Santana was a popular performer in their home town. The family moved to Tijuana when Carlos was 8. José moved further, to San Francisco, later on, seeking work, in the 1960s, taking the family with him. Even as a child, Carlos knew his father had that indefinable something that makes for a great entertainer.

'My dad was my musical influence a gazillion per cent'

"My dad was Mr. Charisma," Carlos told The Guardian in 2014. "I adored him because of the way he carried himself, the way he dressed and smelt. He knew he was magnetic."

According to Rolling Stone, José began his music career as a teenager when he became violinist for a classical symphony orchestra, eventually becoming the company's leader. He later formed a touring mariachi band, Los Cardinales, and even in his later years continued to perform at a restaurant in Mill Valley, California. He suffered a stroke in 1983, the year he played on Carlos's "Vereda Tropical" on the album Havana Moon. Despite the health issues, José kept performing until two years before his death from heart failure in 1997, said Variety.

"My dad was my musical influence a gazillion per cent," Carlos told The Guardian. "Being a musician wasn't what I wanted to do, it was what I wanted to be. I wanted to be adored like he was."

José was survived by his wife of 57 years, Josefina; seven children, including Carlos; and numerous grandchildren.