Photography Credit: TheNewYorkTimes

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The music world has lost a big one this week. Multi-faceted Jazz, R&B and funk icon George Duke died Monday night in Los Angeles after battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 67.

According to Duke’s label, Concord Music Group, the singer and keyboardist had been battling the chronic illness for quite some time. Duke’s son, Rashid Duke released a statement thanking his father’s fan for their generous support.

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

Lalah with George.jpg234The Grammy-winning performer, composer and producer collaborated with a number of greats over his 40 year career including Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Jean Luc Ponty, Phil Collins and Michael Jackson. He also worked with a who’s who list of other well respected artists including Anita Baker, Deniece Williams, Rachelle Ferrell, George Clinton, Patti Austin, Stanley Clark, Shelia E., Lalah Hathaway (pictured on the left)  and most recently, Jill Scott. His music has also been sampled by many of today’s top rappers Kanye West, Ice Cube and Common. He is also the cousin of Grammy-winning jazz vocalist, Dianne Reeves.

A few artists have tweeted their condolences including Erykah Badu, QuestLove and Justin Timberlake who referred to Duke as “One of the GREATEST.”

Duke’s death comes on the heels of his last album release which was July 16. DreamWeaver  made its debut at no. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart and was the first project since the death of his wife, Corine. She passed away last July.

On a personal note, I had the opportunity to work with Duke on two occasions, the most recent being April 3 of this year for the Jazz 91.9 FM WCLK 39th Anniversary Concert at the Cobb Energy Centre. He was a gentle spirit and will not be forgotten. #RIP