Pianist Johnny Alf was called the “true father of Bossa Nova” by Ruy Castro, who wrote a definitive history of the music. Alf widely influenced later stars.

A statement from a hospital near Sao Paulo says Alf died Thursday evening of multiple organ failure.

Alf was born Alfredo Jose da Silva on May 19, 1929, in Rio de Janeiro. He was an aficionado of early American jazz, which greatly influenced his work and that of Bossa Nova as a whole.

He appeared on 46 albums, but only recorded nine solo records.

His 1955 songs “Rapaz de bem” and “O Tempo e o vento” are considered by many the start of Bossa Nova.