By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 02, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Veteran Milwaukee DJ Cosmo Cruz passed away today.

As I wrote last week, Cruz, nee Patrick Cummings, had been a fixture on the local scene for decades and was known for his ready smile, his encyclopedic knowledge and his quick wit.

Cruz had been battling liver cancer for a long time and his many fans, friends and followers held a benefit for him this past weekend. Yesterday, a mutual friend told me that the event with a big success but, in the end, we knew it could never do what we might have hoped.

WMSE's Tom Crawford knew Pat much better than I did and the appreciation he posted on the WMSE website today says it all:

Today we lost one of the great ones. WMSE DJ Cosmo Cruz passed away quietly this morning in his East Side home. Cosmo fought a long and very valiant battle with liver cancer. Cosmo was one of the most widely known and revered WMSE DJ's for over 18 years. He brought a knowledge unsurpassed to every show he did. From free jazz to hard bop to punk to where he would remain for the last 14 years hosting Tuesday afternoons from 3pm to 6pm, playing the most in-depth R & B, soul, doo-wop and funk. Every show was a masterpiece with no apologies. He made the airwaves in Milwaukee heavy with every song and set break, pulling music from his vast personal collection and often times spending hours researching and putting together his shows. Few DJ's will ever surpass his staunch and fiery on-air personality.

Cosmo, you are historic, my friend, and Milwaukee radio will never be the same in your absence.

Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.

With a Heavy Heart,

Tom Crawford
Station Manager

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.