Iconic jazz keyboardist Chick Corea has died at the age of 79.
"It is with great sadness we announce that on February 9th, Chick Corea passed away at the age of 79, from a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently," an announcement from his official Facebook page reads.
"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," the announcement continued. "He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions."
A member of legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’ band in the late 1960s and the founder of renowned group Return to Forever, Corea was a crucial element in the spawn of jazz fusion.
Embracing a far range of influence from Latin to avant-garde jazz, classical to bebop, Corea cultivated a unique sound that was an imperative building block to jazz fusion in the 1960s and 1970s. With a harmonically-dense vocabulary — including the utilization of dominant chords, diminished scale runs and prominent chromaticism — Corea’s innovative playing style placed him amongst the elite of jazz pianists of the time.
The Facebook announcement revealed that Corea also had a message for his fans.
It reads: "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."
"And to my amazing musician friends who have been like family to me as long as I’ve known you: 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, and to have done so with all the artists that I admire so dearly—this has been the richness of my life," the message concludes.
Corea is survived by his wife, Gayle Moran, and a son Thaddeus.
The Associated Press contributed to this report