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Legendary Jazz Keyboardist Chick Corea Dies of 'Rare Form of Cancer' at 79

·3 min read

Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Chick Corea has died.

The legendary jazz pianist — responsible for compositions such as "Spain," "500 Miles High" and "Leprechaun's Dream" — died on Tuesday from a "rare form of cancer which was only discovered recently," according to a post from his official Facebook account and website.

"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 statement read. "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."

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Along with the statement regarding his passing, the musician, born Armando Anthony Corea, left a message of gratitude to his fans.

"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," he wrote. "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."

The composer continued by also thanking his musician friends who were "like family to me."

"It has been a blessing and an honor learning from and playing with all of you," he wrote. "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."

Luciano Viti/Getty Chick Corea in 1992

The statement ended by requesting privacy for his family during "this difficult time of loss."

Corea was a 23-time Grammy winner and 67-time nominee. He's ranked as the person with the eighth-most wins, trailing behind the likes of Georg Solti, Quincy Jones and Beyoncé. He's the 10th most-nominated artist.

Corea won his first Grammy at the 1976 Grammy Awards, where he won the award for best jazz performance by a group for "No Mystery" alongside his band Return to Forever. He last won the Grammy for best Latin jazz album for Antidote. He's posthumously nominated for best improvised jazz solo for "All Blues" and jazz instrumental album for Trilogy 2.

Throughout his career, Corea released more than 80 studio albums. He was a member of Miles Davis' band.

John Mayer, who worked with Corea, remembered the composer in a touching post on Instagram.

"Chick Corea was the single greatest improvisational musician I have ever played with. Nobody was more open, more finely tuned to the moment, changing his approach with every new offering by the musicians around him," he wrote. "If you hit a wrong note, he'd immediately pick it up and play it as a motif so as to say 'all of this has value, whether you see it or not.' What an immeasurable loss in so many ways."

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