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Legendary Jazz Musician and Gospel Artist George Duke Dead at 67

Legendary Jazz Musician and Gospel Artist George Duke Dead at 67Jazz musician George Duke died Monday in Los Angeles at age 67.

A pioneer in the funk and R&B genres, he had been battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia, according to his label Concord Music Group, which confirmed his death.

“The outpouring of love and support that we have received from my father’s friends, fans and the entire music community has been overwhelming,” said his son, Rashid Duke, in a statement. “Thank you all for your concern, prayers and support.”

The Grammy Award-winning keyboardist produced and collaborated with artists such as Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Jill Scott and Michael Jackson during his career of more than four decades. His music was also sampled by Kanye West, Daft Punk and Common.

Duke’s final album, DreamWeaver, was released July 16 and made its debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart. It was his first new music since the death of his wife, Corine, last year.

Gospel artist Fred Hammond released this statement to PATH:

To wake up this morning in hear that we lost the legendary George Duke felt as if I lost one of my favorite uncles. To even put this note together is distressing at best. I learned of Unc when I was a kid in junior high. The first album I heard was the George Duke Billy Cobham project. I remember the album cover…it was both of their heads connected to a pair of hands. The album cover was unique but the album was extraordinary. Then there was Uncle George and Uncle Stanley Clarke. These two set the foundation of jazz in my life. I met him a few years ago on the capital jazz cruise and we clicked instantly. After that we hung out a few times and kind of stayed in touch.

George Duke personified the ultimate in straight ahead smooth jazz and the funk! The saddest thing to me is that one of my next two albums was going to include a George Duke/Fred Hammond praise & worship CD. Heartbroken is an understatement. I’ve only done one jazz album and it was a tribute to some of the most influential jazz artists in my life. This song called “I Remember George” from my Grandad Turner album.

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