Jazz pianist Joe Sample dead

Washington: Jazz pianist Joe Sample has died in Houston. He was 75.

He died Friday morning in Houston. His family made the announcement on Facebook but didn't give the cause of death, reports

"His wife Yolanda and his son Nicklas would like to thank all of you, his fans and friends, for your prayers and support during this trying time," the Facebook post read.

"Please know that Joe was aware and very appreciative of all of your prayers, comments, letters/cards and well wishes."

The pianist was hospitalised last year with pneumonia. In the past, he had suffered from health issues including heart attacks in 1994 and 2009.

Sample formed the band - Jazz Crusaders - with his classmates, saxophonist Wilton Felder, drummer Stix Hooper, trombonist Wayne Henderson and others while studying at Texas Southern University in the mid 1950s.

The group moved to Southern California and recorded their first album, "Freedom Sound", in 1961.

A decade later, the group changed its name to The Crusaders after experimenting with other sounds like funk and R&B.

They added an electric bassist and guitarist, and Sample started playing electric keyboards. They parted ways in 1987.

Sample's solo career was also a successful one. He worked with singers Marvin Gaye, Anita Baker, Joni Mitchell and Canned Heat.

He had been collaborating with New England folk singer Jonatha Brooke on a biography about 19th-century New Orleans nun Henriette DeLille for the last 16 years.

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