LAS VEGAS (CelebrityAccess) — Francis “Rocco” Prestia, the longtime bassist for the legendary horn section and band Tower of Power, died on Tuesday night. He was 69.
Bandmate Emilio Castilo broke the news in a post on their social media, writing:
“Our dear “Rocco” passed away last night, peacefully with his family by his side at a hospice in Las Vegas. Some of us were blessed to have a few parting words with him over the last few days and for that I’m so grateful. Many people know that I always called him Frank because his name was Frank Hueton back in 1965. Frank was a very sweet kid with really cool hair when we first met in junior high school and we actually brought him into our band because of his hair; he was a horrible guitar player.
“My father had hired a teacher named Terry Saunders to teach us one song a week and the first thing Terry said to Frank was, “You need to play the bass!!!” How right he was!!! As a bass player he was totally unique and as a person he was one of a kind. He fought a long fight over the last 20 years and now he’s with the Lord and heaven is his home. I’ll miss him dearly but I know that he’s now at peace and I look forward to seeing him there. To say that Francis Rocco Prestia was a huge part of the Tower of Power sound is a gross understatement. When people listened to Tower of Power it was always Rocco that they walked away talking about and he had a major impact on the music world. ”
A cause of death was not disclosed but Prestia had been battling numerous health conditions since 2000 and underwent a kidney transplant in 2014.
A native of Sonora, California, Prestia auditioned for Tower of Power as a guitarist but switched to electric bass at the prompting of Castillo.
He performed with the group until 2001 when he took a hiatus for health issues but returned to Tower of Power until he finally stepped back from the group in 2018.
Rocco is survived by two children, Julian Francis Rocco Prestia and Alicia-Lyn JoAnn Prestia.