NEW YORK (AP) – Chick Corea, a towering 23 Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist who pushed the boundaries of the genre and worked with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, has died. He was 79 years old.

Corea died Tuesday of a rare form of cancer his team posted on their website. His death was confirmed by Corea’s web and marketing manager Dan Muse.

On his Facebook page, Corea left his fans a message: “I want to thank everyone on my trip who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. I hope that those who have a clue can play, write and perform or in a different way. If not for yourself, then for the rest of us. It’s not just that the world needs more artists, it’s just great fun. “

A prolific artist with dozens of albums, Corea replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ group in 1968 and starred on the seminal albums “In a Silent Way” and “Bitches Brew”.

He started his own avant-garde group, Circle, and then founded Return to Forever. He worked on many other projects including duos with Hancock and vibraphonist Gary Burton. He recorded and played classical music, standards, solo originals, Latin jazz, and tributes to great jazz pianists.

Harvey Mason Jr., Interim President and CEO of the Recording Academy, wrote, “Chick has rewritten the rules of jazz in his more than five decades-long career and has received great acclaim along the way for his musical excellence.”

Corea was named a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master in 2006. He was a member of the Church of Scientology and lived in Clearwater, Florida. He regularly won the Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year title.

In addition to his Grammy wins, Corea also had four Latin Grammy wins. In a tweet, the Latin Recording Academy called him “a virtuoso pianist and one of the most famous Latin jazz musicians of all time”. The Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City simply called it “irreplaceable”.

Drummer Sheila E. took to Twitter to mourn. “This man changed my life through his music and we were able to play together many times. I was very fortunate to call him my family,” she wrote. “Chick, you are very much missed, your music and your brilliant light will live on forever.”

Hip-hop star Q-Tip called Corea “one of the coldest pianists / keyboardists / songwriters of all time,” and rapper Biz Markie celebrated Corea’s jazz-fusion group Return to Forever in 1972, calling them “fossil fuel for one.” Eternity of Rap Samples “.

Last year Corea released the double album “Plays”, which caught him solo at various concerts that were only armed with his piano.

“As a runner likes to run because it feels good, I like to play the piano just because it feels good,” he told The Associated Press at the time. “I can just switch gears and go in a different direction or go to a different song or whatever I want to do. So it’s a constant experiment.”

The double album was a glimpse into Corea’s musical heart and included songs he wrote decades ago about the innocence of children, as well as pieces by Mozart, Thelonious Monk and Stevie Wonder.

Corea is the artist with the most jazz Grammys in the show’s 63-year history and he has the chance to posthumously win at the show on March 14, where he won for Best Impromptu Jazz Solo for “All Blues” and the best jazz instrumental album is nominated for “Trilogy 2.”

Corea was born in Massachusetts and started taking piano lessons at the age of 4. Resisting formal education, however, he left both Columbia University and the Juilliard School. He started his career as a sideman.

Corea liked to invite volunteers on stage during solo concerts, putting them near his piano, and creating spontaneous, completely subjective musical poems about the person. “It starts as a game – to try to capture something I see in music,” he told the AP. “As I play I look at them a few times like a painter would. I try to see if while playing they match what I am playing? Do you think this is really a portrait of?” they? And usually they do. “

At the end of last year Corea had two commissions: a trombone concerto for the New York Philharmonic and a percussion concerto for the Philadelphia Orchestra. “I’m interested in something and then I follow that interest. And that’s how my music comes out,” he said. “I’ve always followed my interests. It was my successful way of life.”

He has also started teaching online and founded the Chick Corea Academy to share his views on music and share the opinions of others, ask questions and chat with guests. He hopes his students will explore their freedom of expression and think for themselves.

“Does everyone have to like what I like? No. And it’s what moves the world that we all have different preferences,” he told the AP. “We come together and work together.”

Corea is survived by his wife, Gayle Moran, and a son, Thaddeus.

Béla Fleck, a virtuoso in the banjo who recorded and toured with Corea, called him “my hero, mentor and friend” and added: “The world has lost one of the greats. It is a great honor to have known him . “

AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report.

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