R

enowned jazz pianist Chick Corea has died at the age of 79 after being diagnosed with cancer, a statement on his website said.

American composer Corea, winner of 23 Grammy Awards, died from a rare form of the disease which he was only recently found to have, according to the announcement.

“He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many,” the statement said.

“Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.”

/ AP

A message from Corea added: “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.”

Over a 50-year career Corea, who was of Italian descent, played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Mann.

He was already a star in his own right in the 1960s when he started playing in Davis’ ensembles.

In the 1970s Corea formed jazz fusion group Return To Forever and maintained a prolific output over the decades.

His 23 Grammy wins came from 67 nominations.

Corea is known for arrangements including Spain, 500 Miles High and La Fiesta.

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