LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County School District is mourning the loss of a teacher who was a trailblazer in music.

Albert Avila had a passion for music and education, helped launch CCSD’s Mariachi Azul, and taught at Fremont Middle School.

8 News Now spoke to his widow about the music teacher and how she is now working to fulfill a dream.

“He was a total musician. He loved everything about music and everything about his students,” Julie Avila said.

It has been more than a week since Avila passed away. His wife, Julie, is gathering her strength to share his story after a sudden stomach pain forced the couple to rush to the hospital, ending with Avila ultimately losing his life to an intestinal rupture.

“Some days are good. Actually, some moments are good, most moments are not,” Julie said.

The 39-year-old school teacher was a staple with CCSD and helped launch mariachi education across the state of Nevada, Julie said.

“He worked really hard a lot of the time to make sure mariachi music wasn’t looked as a novelty but had the same base as jazz or choir,” she said.

“I love it, I love seeing the passion that they go for,” Avila said in a previous interview with 8 News Now highlighting his work during this year’s Hispanic heritage celebration.

Today, the mariachi music education program is the largest in the country. The group was recently selected to represent Las Vegas at the Midwest Clinic Conference in Chicago

It was a dream Avila was hoping to perform in to help grow the music program.

“He wanted to show directors and band directors that they can create this program to connect with students,” Julie said.

A public funeral service is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 8 a.m. at Saint Christopher Catholic Church in North Las Vegas.

The students are raising money for that music conference in Chicago. You can access their donation page through this link.