George Duke Dies at 67

George Duke Dies at 67
Virtuosic jazz-fusion keyboardist George Duke passed away yesterday (August 5) at the age of 67. According to a representative, he died in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

"I just received the devastating and sad news that the great musician, George Duke, passed away this evening at St. John's hospital in L.A.," Payne said in a statement [via Radio Facts.com]. "It was just one year earlier, July 18th, that his beloved wife and my friend, Corine, went to be with the Lord. Please keep his sons, Rasheed and John, in your prayers."

After beginning his career as a session musician, Duke began issuing a long string of solo LPs in the mid-'60s, with the over-30 record catalogue sadly capping last month with his most recent LP, DreamWeaver. The album had been a tribute to his late wife Corine, who died of cancer in 2012.

Duke's career also found him working steadily with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention between 1969 and 1975, with another longstanding collaborator including violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. In addition, Duke worked with the likes of Michael Jackson (supplying keyboard work to Off the Wall), Bill Cobham, Anita Baker, Diana Reeves, George Clinton, Miles Davis and Herb Ellis.

The musician's work also left an imprint on the dance and hip-hop scenes, with tracks being sampled by such artists as Daft Punk, Kanye West (for Common), Ice Cube, MF Doom and 9th Wonder.