Jazz legend Chick Corea dies, aged 79

Chick Corea
(Image credit: Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images)

Legendary jazz musician Chick Corea has died at the age of 79. A statement on his Facebook page confirmed that he had been suffering from a rare form of cancer that was only discovered very recently.

Corea left a message “for all those he knew and loved,” which reads: “I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.  

“And to my amazing musician friends who have been like family to me as long as I’ve known you: It has been a blessing and an honor learning from and playing with all of you. My mission has always been to bring the joy of creating anywhere I could, and to have done so with all the artists that I admire so dearly - this has been the richness of my life.”

A pioneer of jazz fusion, Chick Corea got his first big gig playing with Cab Calloway before collaborating with the likes of Bill Mitchell, Herbie Mann and Stan Getz. He stepped into the spot previously held by Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’s group and played on such classics as In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew.

Corea’s own fusion group Return To Forever saw him embracing the Moog in addition to his usual Rhodes.

A composer of several pieces that have come to be regarded as jazz standards, Corea will be remembered first and foremost as a keyboard player, but he was also a band leader and percussionist. Tributes to him have been pouring in since news of his death was announced.

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