Rest in Peace: Don Luis, The Old Violin Man of Southeast Houston

Qui cantat laudem, non solum cantat, sed et amat eum quem cantat. (He who sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him whom he is singing for.)

--Saint Augustine

In every town, no matter how large or small, there are certain characters which we encounter that become icons of their community, many times without the explicit want or desire to be so. Earlier this week, the town of Houston lost one such individual. His name was Luis Cruz, or more respectfully, Don Luis. But for the many who would see him playing his trusty, aged violin on the corner of Woodridge Drive and the Gulf Freeway, he was simply and affectionately known as "The Old Violin Man".

Cruz passed away on Tuesday while he was hospitalized at Bayshore Medical Center in Pasadena. He lived to the age of 90. He is survived by his wife Emilia, six daughters, four sons, and several grandchildren.

Don Luis entertained and inspired countless motorists on his street corner, where he endured many steamy summer days and frigid winter chills, all for the love of music. Always sporting his signature cowboy hat and wide smile, he sang and played for whatever tips he was handed in the short time between stoplights.

One of his countless admirers is hometown rapper Chingo Bling, who expressed his condolences on his official Facebook page as follows:

RIP to Don Luis. He played his violin with a smile almost every day at the intersection of Woodridge and 45 south. For free. Because he loved it. Of course he received tips but he didn't need the money. Don Luis truly touched people's lives just by being himself and doing what he loves. How powerful is that?! He wasn't worried about wining a Grammy, MTV, Facebook "likes" or radio play. He played from a pure place and you could feel it in his smile and presence. I must say that this man has inspired me tremendously. I grew up a block away with dreams of Grammys and radio play. I had it all wrong. Don Luis knew the right way. Not by chasing anything, but by simply being yourself and doing what you love... NO MATTER WHAT. Right there on the corner of 45 and Woodridge Don Luis had LIFE figured out. He found his JOY and he was spreading it one smile at a time. To me he's made it bigger than any other "superstar" out there. Thank you SUPERSTAR for showing us HOW TO LIVE.

Rest In Peace, Don Luis. You will be missed.


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