Vocalist Al Jarreau, who won seven Grammys for his R&B, jazz, and pop music, died in a Los Angeles hospital on Sunday morning at the age of 76.
Joe Gordon, Jarreau’s manager, told the New York Times that Jarreau had been hospitalized two weeks earlier for exhaustion, forcing him to cancel upcoming tour dates only three days ago. Last year, Jarreau performed 50 concerts, including one at the White House.
Gordon told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Jarreau’s family has requested mourners and well-wishers make donations to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music in lieu of sending gifts.
Though the Milwaukee native sang at his local church when he was as young as four, he didn’t embark upon a career as a full-time musician until he was nearly 30. In the early 60s, Jarreau received a masters in vocational rehabilitation and moved to San Francisco to work as a counselor for the disabled.
In the decades since his career change, Jarreau recorded 20 albums and became the only singer to win Grammys in the categories of pop, jazz, and R&B. His biggest hit was the 1981 track “We’re in This Love Together.”
Jarreau will be remembered for his openness, creativity, and a brilliance he bestowed upon many musical genres. “I try to be receptive,” Jarreau told The Los Angeles Times in 1986, “and to be listening, and to not be afraid to try something new.”
The best part, of course, is that we get to listen to him.