The official statement revealed that Corea’s cause of death stemmed from a rare form of cancer “which was only discovered very recently.”
“Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do,” the statement continued. “He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.”
Corea also left a message for his fans to be released after he died. Corea said:
I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.
And to my amazing musician friends who have been like family to me as long as I’ve known you: It has been a blessing and an honor learning from and playing with all of you. My mission has always been to bring the joy of creating anywhere I could, and to have done so with all the artists that I admire so dearly—this has been the richness of my life.
The statement on Corea’s death did not specify what type of cancer Corea was diagnosed with. He survived by his wife, Gayle Moran, whom he married in 1972, and their son, Thaddeus Corea.
Corea Won 23 Grammy Awards & Was Still Touring Just Before the Coronavirus Pandemic Hit
The talented keyboardist and piano player who won 23 Grammy Awards, along with 67 Grammy nominations throughout his career, was incredibly versatile and collaborated with numerous types of artists. In addition to working with Alicia Keys and Miles Davis, he worked with the Foo Fighters and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Originally from Massachusetts, Corea was riding out the pandemic with his wife Gayle Moran, who’s also an established musician, at their home in Florida, according to the San Diego Tribune.
“We’re all anxious to go back on the road,” said Corea in September. “But I’m unable to predict the way the restrictions will go, or when they will be lifted, so I’m creating as much as I can.”
That same month, Corea had released his latest record, a new live double-album, Plays, which was recorded on tour in 2018. While Corea yearned to get back to performing, he found a way to still be creative amid the lockdown.
“The lock-down happened, and I realized how easy it is to go on Facebook to make music,” Corea said. “So I did.” Using his iPhone 11, he live-streamed himself practicing performance pieces and would take viewers’ questions on Facebook Live.
His live streams inspired the pianist to start the Chick Corea Academy, an online subscription website, which costs $29 a month. Corea said of the online school, “It’s not like a school where there are tests or criticism. It’s more a sharing of ideas.”
“Basically, the academy is a platform where I answer questions in my own way,” Corea told the San Diego Tribune. “I let everyone know I’m not giving them rules. I’m sharing actions, practices and methods I’ve created that work for me. I encourage them to use them, if it works for them, and to find their own methods, ways, theories and harmonies in order to find their own individual expressions.”
Corea was incredibly social media savvy for his age. On Instagram, he had amassed over 500,000 followers.
Tributes to Chick Corea Filled Twitter Following News of His Death
Corea was such an influential musician and pianist, between founding groundbreaking bands such as Return to Forever and Elektric Band, and his decades of collaborating with such a wide range of artists, he earned millions of fans across the world.
After learning of Corea’s death, fans, friends, and fellow musicians paid tribute to the legendary musician on Twitter. Otto Van Biz Markie tweeted, “RIP Chick Corea. The Return to Forever project remains one of the most technically magnificent creations of cosmic slop ever laid down. A blueprint for genre fusion and deep galactic jazz. The fossil fuel for an eternity of rap samples.”