Grammy award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn has died at the age of 78

Grammy award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn has died at the age of 78

David Sanborn, the influential saxophonist whose success spanned the genres of pop, R&B, jazz and more, died Sunday.

He is 78 years old.

“It is with sadness and sorrow that we announce to you the loss of the internationally renowned 6-time Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn,” according to a statement on his social media account. “Mr. Sanborn died Sunday afternoon, May 12, after a long battle with prostate cancer with complications.”

Sanborn’s publicist confirmed the accuracy of the post when reached by CNN.

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, but continued to perform until recently.

“Indeed he already has a concert scheduled for 2025,” the statement said. “David Sanborn is an important figure in contemporary pop and jazz music. It has been said that he ‘put the saxophone back into Rock ‘n Roll.'”

Born in Tampa, Florida, Sanborn grew up in Missouri. He began playing the saxophone as part of his recovery after contracting polio at age three, according to his website.

“At the age of 14, he was able to play with legends like Albert King and Little Milton,” it states in his biography on the website. “Dave went on to study music at Northwestern University before transferring to the University of Iowa where he played and studied with the great saxophonist JR Monterose.”

Sanborn went on to join the Butterfield Blues Band and play Woodstock with Paul Butterfield. His career took off and the saxophonist toured with Stevie Wonder, recorded on Wonder’s “Talking Book” album, played with The Rolling Stones, and toured with David Bowie.

Sanborn’s solo on Bowie’s “Young Americans” is a standout. His other collaborators include Paul Simon and James Taylor.

He released his debut solo album, “Taking Off,” in 1975. His second album, “Hideaway,” followed four years later. Other Sanborn albums featured contributions from Luther Vandross, Christian McBride, Eric Clapton and more.

“All I Need Is You” won her her first Grammy Award for best R&B instrumental performance in 1981. She would go on to win five more Grammys, earn eight gold albums, one platinum album and tour successfully for decades.

In March 2024, Sanborn was honored at the St. Louis for his lifetime achievement in jazz.

“I’m so glad I’m alive to receive this,” Sanborn said at the time. “I am extremely grateful and honored to receive this award in my hometown of St. Louis.”

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