NEW YORK (AP) — George Duke, the Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist and producer whose sound infused acoustic jazz, electronic jazz, funk, R&B and soul in a 40-year-plus career, has died. He was 67.

A representative for Duke said the performer died Monday night in Los Angeles. Duke was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Duke’s son, Rashid, thanked his father’s fans in a statement Tuesday.

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

Duke was born in San Rafael, Calif. He appeared on a number of Frank Zappa albums and played in the Don Ellis Orchestra, Cannonball Adderley’s band and with jazz musician Stanley Clarke. Duke also played keyboard on Michael Jackson’s multiplatinum 1979 album, “Off the Wall.”

Duke began taking piano lessons when he was 4 years old, after seeing Duke Ellington perform.

“I don’t remember it too well … but my mother told me I went crazy,” Duke said on his website. “I ran around saying, ‘Get me a piano, get me a piano!'”

Duke said he learned a lot about music from going to church, which helped him add a funk style to his sound. He played in high-school jazz groups and was heavily influenced by Miles Davis. He earned degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University.

On tour as part of the George Duke Trio, he performed in Los Angeles at a show where Adderley, Zappa and Quincy Jones were in attendance. Duke soon joined Zappa on a tour for a year in 1969. He joined Adderley’s band in 1971. He met Clarke through Adderley, and they formed the Clarke/Duke Project. Their song “Sweet Baby” was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard pop charts.

Duke became a solo artist in 1976 and released more than 30 solo albums. He also produced for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.

Duke’s wife, Corine, died from cancer last year. His latest album, “DreamWeaver,” was released last month and features a touching tribute to her.

He worked as musical director for the Soul Train Music Awards and other special events. He also scored songs on soundtracks for “The Five Heartbeats” and “Karate Kid III.”

10 thoughts on “We Remember: George Duke Dies at 67

  1. tHISHA on said:

    I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I MISS YOU I MISS YOU I MISS YOU AND NOW I CRY

  2. I’m one of George Duke’s BIGGEST fans…Got a chance to have a one-on-one conversations with him believe it or not while on the Tom Joyner Cruise one year…I asked George when would he and Marcus Miller go on tour together and he told me they were both very busy…guess what, I got to see them together with David Sanborn last year and it was my dream concert (too short)…sadly too many people only relate to George for a couple songs, Dukey Stick and No Rhyme no Reason…check out this man’s range and get his Muir Woods Suite album and you will see what I’m talking about…RIP BIG GEORGE!

  3. tina swilling on said:

    wow, no rhyme no reason was one of my favs and now we have lost a great man, with a great voice. Much love and prayers to your family at this time.

  4. Classy Chic on said:

    A true musical genius that had a style that was all his own. His music will live forever. Rest in peace George.

  5. Geraldine on said:

    RIP George! You will live on through your music legacy.

    May the pace that surpasses ALL understandimg fall upon your family.

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