Ellis Marsalis Jr, Legendary Jazz Musician, Dies at 85 Following Coronavirus Complications

Iconic jazz musician and patriarch Ellis Marsalis Jr. has passed away from complications of Coronavirus at the age of 85.

The Coronavirus pandemic has yet again snatched another bright star from our hands, leaving the world in darkness.

Ellis Marsalis performs as part of the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on May 5, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

Ellis Marsalis performs as part of the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on May 5, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

According to a report by the New York Times, jazz prodigy and pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. died from complications of COVID-19 on Wednesday, April 1.

Before his death, Marsalis was the first jazz instructor at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and the first chair of the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans.

The sad news of his demise was revealed by his son, Brandford, in a statement where he disclosed that his dad "died peacefully this evening." He praised his father's legacy, writing:

"My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father. He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be."

Branford Marsalis poses at the 2018 New Dramatists Luncheon Honoring Denzel Washington at The Marriott Marquis Hotel on May 15, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

Branford Marsalis poses at the 2018 New Dramatists Luncheon Honoring Denzel Washington at The Marriott Marquis Hotel on May 15, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

The impact of his death was felt in New Orleans, where his musical career began at the young age of 11, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans took to Twitter to express her grief at his passing.

She described the father-of-six as a "legend" and "the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz."

Marsalis was regarded as the pacesetter for the late-20th-venture resurgence in Jazz, and while at it, he raised six sons, four of whom followed in his musical path to become household names. 

As noted by CNN, his son Wynton is the artistic director of Jazz at the Lincoln Center and has several awards to his name, including the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1997.  Branford is a jazz saxophonist and has won three Grammy awards.

Ellis Marsalis perform during the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on May 7, 2017 | Photo: Getty Images

Ellis Marsalis perform during the 2017 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at Fair Grounds Race Course on May 7, 2017 | Photo: Getty Images

Jason is a drummer and vibraphonist, while Delfeayo, a trombonist, with both of them making strides in their industry! He also taught music for decades in New Orleans, and some of his students include Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison Jr., and Harry Connick Jr.

USA Today reports that Ellis had just ended his thirty-year run at New Orleans' Snug Harbor on Frenchman Street in January to enjoy his life of retirement.

 (L-R) Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis and Jason Marsalis perform during the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 50th Anniversary at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 28, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

(L-R) Ellis Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis and Jason Marsalis perform during the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 50th Anniversary at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 28, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

Before his death, Marsalis was the first jazz instructor at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, and the first chair of the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans.

Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go to his family and loved ones. Indeed, the impact he made in the world of music would never be forgotten.

ⓘ We at AmoMama do our best to give you the most updated news regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, but the situation is constantly changing. We encourage readers to refer to the online updates from CDС, WHO, or Local Health Departments to stay updated. Take care!

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