RIP Orlando Sanchez, Esteemed Miami Music Lover and Churchill's Pub Fixture, Dead at 35

The news of some folks' death has a way of sounding initially like a bad joke -- something so seemingly impossible, it just couldn't be true.

One such unbelievable occurrence was the passing of local musician, music lover and Churchill's Pub fixture Orlando Sanchez.

When news of his death spread this weekend, it was with disbelief, as if it might be some terrible prank perpetrated upon his friends by a macabre jokester. Or shit, maybe even by the man himself.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. In the morning hours of September 27, Orlando Sanchez died of a heart attack. He was 35 years old.

See also: Churchill's Pub: An Oral History

Computer coder by day and gentle rock 'n' roller by night, Orlando Sanchez was the kind of guy who'd always find the positive in a bad situation, and then goof it up with one of his dynamic dance moves -- say, a grand mal seizure via the funky chicken.

Tuffgnarl.com founder and longtime friend Chuck Livid remembers his departed pal: "Orlando was a beast of a human being. A guy that always brought smiles and bear hugs every time you saw him. As someone in the IT field, he was a force to be reckoned with. His skills as a coder were ahead by leaps and bounds, the dude was on top of the latest web technologies. I'll miss him immensely. One can only aspire to be the kind of person Orlando Sanchez was. May he rest in peace."

The outpouring of disbelief and condolences on Sanchez' Facebook page has been immense. One thing of note: Almost every photograph of his that's been posted is either within Churchill's or at some kind of gathering among Miami's underground musicians.

Orlando was a music lover and a fixture at Churchill's, where he could always be found with a shot of Jameson and a beer. In a world that preceded Instagram and "social media," he was perhaps most famously known as the overly enthusiastic fan on the cover of the Stop Motion's Live @ Churchill's 2002 CD recorded during a Quit reunion show. And though his band, Frontline never did have that reunion, his intense passion for the Miami scene never diminished.

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The stools at Churchill's will always be filled. But on Sundays, particularly on Sundays, no matter how many asses are planted in them, one will always be vacant. Soon, the pub's booking manager, Idle Hands' Nayra Serrano, will place a plaque in his honor at the bar.

RIP Orlando Sanchez. He is survived by his girlfriend Bailey and his loving family.

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