Chick Corea, Acclaimed Jazz Pianist and 23-Time Grammy Awardee, Passes Away at 79 — Details

Renowned Jazz pianist, Chick Corea, dies at the age of 79. The 23-time Grammy Award winner lost his life to a rare form of cancer. Fellow artists Sheila E. and John Mayer are among those sharing tributes.  

The acclaimed jazz pianist credited with expanding the scope of jazz music, Chick Corea, has died aged 79. The announcement came via Corea's website, which stated that he had recently been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. 

The statement described Corea as a husband, father, and grandfather who served as an advisor to many people. It went on to credit Corea for the millions of lives he influenced through his tremendous body of work. 

23-time Grammy Award winner and jazz pianits, Chick Corea died aged 79 on 9 February, 2021. | Photo: Getty Images.

23-time Grammy Award winner and jazz pianits, Chick Corea died aged 79 on 9 February, 2021. | Photo: Getty Images.

Fellow musician Sheila E. echoed these sentiments as someone who had the opportunity to work with Corea. Through her tribute, Sheila E. Tweeted she had considered Corea to be family, adding that he had changed her life. 

Another artist who Corea inspired is John Mayer, who penned a moving tribute on Instagram. Mayer credited Corea for his ability to refine music and called his death an "immeasurable loss," adding in his caption: 

"Thank you, Chick, for the invaluable scholarship of getting to know and make music with you. May you rest as peacefully as you lived."

Corea made his mark as a jazz pianist in the 1960s alongside the likes of Stan Getz and Herbie Mann. He joined Miles Davis' band in 1968, replacing Herbie Hancock, and ushered in the fusion era through his talents on the electric piano. 

In 1971, Corea started his band called "Return to Forever," which played some of the most powerful music of the fusion years. The group mastered blending Spanish, Brazilian, and other sounds. 

The pianist holds the record for the most jazz Grammy nominations of all time, with a total of 67.

Corea collaborated with several jazz maestros throughout his career, including Dizzy Gillespie, Gary Burton, Mongo Santamaria, and Sarah Vaughan. 

Through his website, Corea thanked all the fellow artists he had worked with for keeping the music alive. He encouraged those blessed with the talent of creating to keep doing so because the world needed artists, adding: 

"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." 

Corea was born on 12 June 1941 and was raised in Boston. He was encouraged to play the piano by his father, who himself had been a jazz trumpeter. Corea also had a knack for playing the drums at an early age. 

Corea became a student at both Julliard and Columbia. However, he ended up not completing school, opting to hit the road instead, and began playing gigs.

Corea once described his love for the piano as an ongoing experiment, saying that the instrument allowed him to change things and go in whichever direction he saw fit. 

The pianist holds the record for the most jazz Grammy nominations of all time, with a total of 67. He has also been nominated for "Best Improvised Solo" and "Best Jazz Instrumental" in this year's awards scheduled for March.

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