Jazz musician Al Jarreau dead at 76

Legendary musician Al Jarreau, who won seven Grammys over his 50-year career. has died in Los Angeles at age 76. Jarreau's biggest single was 1981's We're in This Love Together.

Jarreau won 7 Grammys during his 50-year career, biggest single was 1981's We're in This Love Together

Al Jarreau poses with his awards for best pop instrumental performance for Mornin and best traditional R&B vocal performance for God Bless the Child at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Feb. 11, 2007. Jarreau died in a Los Angeles hospital early Sunday at 76. (Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press)

Grammy-winning jazz singer Al Jarreau, who transcended genres over a 50-year career, died at a Los Angeles hospital Sunday, just days after announcing his retirement from touring due to exhaustion.

His official Twitter account and website said he died surrounded by his wife, son and a few other family members and friends. He was 76.

Jarreau was hospitalized earlier in the week and was said to have been improving slowly. The cause of his death was not revealed.

His son said Jarreau had serenaded a nurse with his hit Moonlighting, from the TV show of the same name, on Wednesday.

The Milwaukee native won seven Grammys over the course of his half-century in music. His biggest single was 1981's We're in This Love Together from the album Breakin' Away. Jarreau was also a vocalist on the all-star 1985 track, We Are the World.

He is one of the few artists to have won Grammys in three separate categories — jazz, pop and R&B. Known for his scat singing as well as his mellow crooning, Jarreau was termed the "greatest jazz singer alive" by Time magazine.

Jarreau's Twitter account said the celebrated singer was "kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few of his family and friends." (Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press)

In a 2014 interview with The Arizona Republic, Jarreau relished in his crossover tendencies.

"I grew up in Milwaukee, and I took it all in. I want it all. Don't cut me off at the pass and say I can't listen to Muddy Waters because I'm a jazzer. Or I can't listen to Garth Brooks because I'm a jazzer. Get out of here," he said.

Music his second career

Although he began singing at age four, harmonizing with his brothers and performing solo at local events in his hometown, Milwaukee, Wis., music wasn't always Jarreau's focus.

He was an athlete who earned a masters in vocational rehabilitation and started his career as a counsellor in San Francisco, playing jazz on the side. Jarreau didn't record his first album until he was 35.

"His second priority in life was music. There was no third," read the statement on Jarreau's website. "His first priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need."

Jarreau is survived by his wife, Susan, and a son, Ryan. In lieu of flowers or gifts, a donation page has been set up for the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music.

With files from CBC News.


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