Chick Corea, the virtuosic keyboardist who broadened the scope of jazz during a career spanning more than five decades, died on Tuesday from a rare form of cancer. A post on his Facebook page confirmed the news. Corea was 79.
“Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do,” his family wrote in a statement. “Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.”
“Chick Corea was the single greatest improvisational musician I have ever played with,” John Mayer, who had appeared with Corea onstage, wrote on Instagram. “Nobody was more open, more finely tuned to the moment, changing his approach with every new offering by the musicians around him. If you hit a wrong note, he’d immediately pick it up and play it as a motif so as to say ‘all of this has value, whether you see it or not.’ What an immeasurable loss in so many ways.”