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Legendary Jazz Keyboardist George Duke Dies

George Duke

Legendary jazz keyboardist George Duke died Monday, his publicist said. He was 67.

The cause of death wasn’t immediately known.

“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.,” former Supremes co-lead singer Scherrie Payne said Monday. “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.”

Following his wife’s death, Duke fell into a depression and was unable to make music for months. He was finally able to create a collection of mostly original compositions for what would be his last album, DreamWeaver. The album is dedicated to Corine’s memory. Missing You, a duet with Rachelle Ferrell, expresses his love for his late wife, who passed away from cancer.

Over the course of his five decade career, Duke collaborated with artists such as Barry Manilow, Miles Davis, and George Clinton. Duke also appeared on over 10 Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention albums from 1970 until 1996.

During the ’70s, Duke also worked with a number of Brazilian musicians, including Milton Nascimento, Airto Moreira, and Flora Purim.

In a 2008 interview, he joked that he had lost track of many albums he had released.

“I’m kinda like [John] McCain in that way: He doesn’t know how many houses he’s got; I don’t know how many albums I’ve got,” Duke said. As a solo artist, Duke released over 40 albums.

Duke has also had his worked sample by a variety of artists, including Daft Punk, Ice Cube, MF Doom, and Kanye West. He also worked with R&B singer Jill Scott on her third studio album The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, and appeared on the track Whenever You’re Around.

According to Scherrie Payne, funeral services for George Duke will be private.

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