23-time Grammy-winning musician Chick Corea has died after battling “a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently,” according to a post on the artist’s verified Facebook page. The keyboardist, composer and bandleader was 79 years old.
“Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do,” the post reads. “He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.”
The post also includes a heartfelt message from Corea himself:
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.
Born Armando Anthony Corea on June 12, 1941, in Chelsea, Mass., Corea was a jazz legend who performed with the late Miles Davis and dabbled in numerous genres across his long career. Corea is one of the most-nominated artists in Grammys history, with a whopping 67 nominations, including two just last year.
Revisit a pair of Corea performances from the Paste archives below, including video of his set with Chick Corea & Friends at 1996’s Newport Jazz Festival and audio from a 1978 performance alongside Herbie Hancock.