GRAMMY® Award-winning keyboardist/composer/arranger/producer George Duke has died in Los Angeles at age 67. He was battling and being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

With almost a half a century career, Duke was one of the world’s most prolific jazz legends. From leading a jazz trio with a young Al Jarreau during his formative years to working with Jean-Luc Ponty, which afforded Duke’s first recording contract with MPS Records and his first exposure to Europe, to his incredible work with Cannonball Adderley, drummer Billy Cobham, and Frank Zappa, to his cherished stream of jazz-funk records in the ’70s, Duke found his mark not only in his eclecticism, but also his signature approach to the synthesizer, which often prized less pyrotechnics in favor of blues elements.

“We are all devastated by the sad news of George’s passing,” says Mark Wexler, General Manager of the Concord-Telarc Label Group. “He was a great man, a legendary, one-of-a-kind artist; and our hearts go out to his family. George will be missed by all.”

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

Duke’s final recording, DreamWeaver, was released July 16, 2013 on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. The making of DreamWeaver occurred after his wife, Corine, passed away. The album debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Contemporary Jazz Chart. Listen to George Duke’s new single, Missing You featuring Rachelle Ferrell.



I was blessed to meet and work with George for the first time in the early 90’s. At that time I was heading Black Music for Island Records and we brought in George to produce songs for Miles Jaye.

Over the years we crossed paths a few times in recording studios, at concerts, award shows and a couple of years ago, George participated on a panel discussion I moderated in tribute to the late Teena Marie at the Grammy Museum. George was an amazing musician and producer but was an even greater person. I very cool dude. George “Dukey Stick” Duke will be greatly missed. RIP.

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  1. Wayne Edwards

    George will, of course, be remembered for his great talent. But more than just a terrific musician, composer and producer, George was also a great man. I had the tremendous opportunity to serve as his product manager back in the day at Epic Records and can personally attest to the fact that George Duke was, and will remain, a terrific human being.