Multi-instrumentalist and jazz composer Yusef Lateef has passed away. The Grammy Award-winning musician died at the age of 93 on Monday, December 23 at his home in Shutesbury, MA. He suffered from prostate cancer for several months prior to his death, but the Daily Hampshire Gazette confirmed he passed away peacefully with his loved ones around him.
Lateef was born William Emanuel Huddleston in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October 9, 1920. When he was 5, he and his family moved to Detroit. In his early career, Lateef toured with Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra.
He also worked on his own music and was eventually known for his innovative fusion of American Jazz with traditional African rhythms, Indian raga, and eastern Arabic styles of music.
Lateef has received many accolades for his music. He won a Grammy for Best New Age Album for "Little Symphony", his 1987 experimental album in which he played many instruments including including sitar, water drums, gourd, and kalangu. In 2010, Lateef was named an American Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Lateef was predeceased by his first wife, Tahira Lateef, a daughter and a son. He is survived by his current wife, Ayesha Lateef, and several grandchildren.