A Bay Area music pioneer has exited stage left.
Edward Villalba founded the San Jose Latin rock band Mystique in the late 1990s.
The band made its television debut in 1997 on NBC Bay Area’s community affairs show, Comunidad Del Valle.
Villalba died overnight while visiting a San Jose hospital with health issues. Friends say he was in his early 50s.
Villalba is credited with giving up and coming musicians a break, and mentoring them until they formed their own bands.
Villalba invited powerful talents to perform with Mystique, including members of Santana, Tower of Power and Malo.
Mystique also performed free at some charity events, and the band occasionally played during halftime at Oakland Raiders games.
Villalba’s Facebook page has been flooded with condolences and shock from friends and fans.
Mystique last performed on New Year’s Eve and the band was scheduled to hit the stage again for a Valentine’s Day show with other bands, such as Tortilla Soup and Tierra.
Villalba was also a retired bus driver with the Valley Transportation Authority.
Bands from across the Bay Area are already planning a special tribute to Ed Villalba.