"Anyway, my agent told me about the gig but he didn't tell me about the name. Later that week, I opened up the paper to look for the advertisement and saw this guy Joe Cuba was playing. I called up my agent and said "Who is that schmuck Joe Cuba who stole my job?' He said 'Man that's you.' "
On April 1999, Joe Cuba was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was named Grand Marshall of the Puerto Rican Day Parade celebrated in Yonkers, New York. He was also the director of the Museum of La Salsa, located in Spanish Harlem, Manhattan, New York.
"In 1954 I organized my group and had my agent try to get us a job in the Stardust Ballroom. The owner booked us but when he heard my name he said 'no one is going to want to come hear a guy with a name like that. He needs a stage name. Let's call him Joe Cuba.' It was just something he made up.
Joe Cuba died on February 15, 2009 in New York City, after being removed from life support. He had been hospitalized for a persistent bacterial infection. Cuba's remains were cremated at Woodhaven Cemetery. He is survived by his 2 adult children from his first wife (Nina, married in 1960), son Mitchell and daughter Lisa, 3 grandchildren Nicole, Alexis and Rebecca; and his second wife Maria (Married in 1994).