Al Jarreau Dies at 76; Chaka Khan, Questlove, Lalah Hathaway & More React
Legendary singer Al Jarreau has passed away in Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 12). The cause of the 76-year-old vocalist’s death has not been revealed but he had been hospitalized recently and canceled his tour.
According to Billboard, a statement on his official website reads in part:
He will be missed. His 2nd priority in life was music. There was no 3rd. His 1st priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need. Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest. He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before. Song was just his tool for making that happen.”
The Milwaukee native started out singing in the choir at the Seventh-day Adventist Church where his father was a minister. Prior to him embarking on a singing career, Jarreau received a masters degree in psychology and worked as a social worker before moving to Los Angeles. From there, he performed at various nightclubs in the Los Angeles-era including The Troubadour and the Improv.
In 1975, while working with pianist Tom Canning, Jarreau was spotted by a scout for Warner Bros. Records and, subsequently, the start of his recording career. Jarreau's biggest hit single was "We're in This Love Together" from his 1981 album Breakin' Away and he was a featured vocalist on the 1985 charity song "We Are the World." Jarreau also wrote and performed the theme song to ABC's 1980s hit dramedy Moonlighting. He also toured and performed with many musical greats such as Joe Sample, Chick Corea, Kathleen Battle, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, George Benson and many others.
In his 30-plus career, Jarreau has won seven Grammy Awards and was inducted into the SoulMusic Hall of Fame in 2012.
In January, Al Jarreau suffered pneumonia and some effective seizures and was hospitalized. Earlier this week, Jarreau retired from touring.
Upon hearing the sad news of Jarreau's death, artists such as Chaka Khan, Questlove, Lalah Hathaway and many others paid tribute to him on Twitter.
Al Jarreau is survived by his wife, Susan, and son Ryan.
We want to send our heartfelt condolences to Al Jarreau's family.