Jazz musician George Duke, who is dubbed as a pioneer in the funk and R&B genres, passed away at the age of 67. George's label Concord Music Group announced that the keyboardist died on Monday, August 5, because of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
"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," his son Rashid Duke said in a statement, as quoted by USA Today.
"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. 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," former Supremes singer Scherrie Payne said.
Celebrities took to Twitter to mourn his passing. Justin Timberlake wrote, "RIP George Duke. Funk, Jazz, MUSIC Legend... One of the GREATEST." Besides, Josh Groban tweeted, "I was fortunate enough to sing 'They Won't Go When I Go' with George Duke. He was a master and a very kind guy. RIP."
George was born in San Rafael, California. He fell in love with piano at the age of 4 after his mother took him to watch Duke Ellington's performance. "I don't remember it too well, but my mother told me I went crazy. I ran around saying, 'Get me a piano, get me a piano!' " he once said.
The artist released more than 40 albums in his 40 years of career and collaborated with Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis and Jill Scott, among others. In addition, his work was sampled by Kanye West, Daft Punk and Common. The Grammy-winning musician released his final album "DreamWeaver" on July 16. The album, which came out a year after his wife's death, made its debut at No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart.
He is survived by his sons Rashid and John. Funeral services will be private.