Jazz pianist Chick Corea has died of cancer at the age of 79. The 23-time Grammy Award winner’s passing was confirmed in a statement on his website.
“It is with great sadness we announce that on February 9, Chick Corea passed away at the age of 79, from a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently,” the statement read.
The statement also included a farewell message from Corea himself. “I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright,” he wrote. “It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.”
Over the course of his career, Corea penned several compositions which are now considered beloved standards:, from 1971 jazz fusion track “Spain” to 1972’s “500 Miles High” and “Windows,” which first appeared on Stan Getz’s 1967 album Sweet Rain. He’s performed with the likes of Blue Mitchell, Willie Bobo and Miles Davis, playing on the latter’s iconic albums Bitches Brew and In a Silent Way.
Corea’s achievements were enthusiastically recognized by the Recording Academy: he was the fourth-most nominated artist in Grammy history, and clinched a total of 23 awards. Corea’s most recent Grammy award was for his 2019 album Antidote with the Spanish Heart Band, which won Best Latin Jazz Album in 2020.
Tributes to Corea have poured in from all corners of the music world. In a statement, bassist Christian McBride mourned his longtime collaborator and paid tribute to his legacy. “As musicians, we all wanted to play with him, write like him, put together bands like him, innovate like him,” he wrote. “His legacy is so vast and deep, it will take probably a lifetime to absorb all of, or even most of it.”
RIP, Chick Corea. Revisit his most vital material below: