LOS ANGELES — Ukulele player Bill Tapia, believed to be the oldest performing musician in the world, died on Friday at the age of 103, his official website said.
Honolulu-born Tapia, who played with the likes of Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles, the website said.
Tapia, whose nickname was Tappy, died just six months after releasing his latest album — a live version of his 100th birthday concert celebration — and one month short of what would have been his 104th birthday in January 2012.
Tapia started his career entertaining troops from World War I and later worked on steamships between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. He became a teacher to Hollywood stars including Clark Gable and Shirley Temple when a ukulele craze hit the United States.
After World War II, Tapia moved to San Francisco and worked for years as a guitar teacher until making a comeback in 2004, age of 96, with the release of a CD featuring jazz and Hawaiian standards.
Tapia was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame in 2004 and continued to tour until 2010.