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Jazz Legend Ellis Marsalis Jr. Dies At 85 From Coronavirus Complications

American jazz pianist and educator, Ellis Marsalis Jr. has died. Marsalis died Wednesday night at a New Orleans hospital from complications due to coronavirus. He was 85.


Marsalis’ son, Wynston Marsalis announced his father’s death on Twitter, “He went out the way he lived: embracing reality”.

Branford Marsalis said in the statement;

“My dad was a giant of a musician and teacher, but an even greater father. He poured everything he had into making us the best of what we could be. And to quote my friend and Harvard Law professor David Wilkins, who just sent me the following text, ‘We can all marvel at the sheer audacity of a man who believed he could teach his black boys to be excellent in a world that denied that very possibility and then watch them go on to redefine what excellence means for all time,’”.

The legendary musician was a prominent member of the New Orleans music scene. Marsalis helped pave the way for four of his sons, Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason, to enter the music industry. Wynton is a trumpeter and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s managing and artistic director; Branford plays the saxophone; Delfeayo is a trombonist, and Jason plays the drums.

In 2008, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans was named in his honour a year earlier.

“Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family, and to all of those whose lives he touched.”

Marsalis Jr. is survived by sons Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo, MBoya and Jason, his sister Yvette and 13 grandchildren. His wife, Dolores, passed away in 2017.

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