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David Sanborn death: Grammy-winning multi-genre saxophonist, dead at 78


Grammy-winning saxophonist David Sanborn, who was celebrated for his decades of work that spanned multiple genres and included collaborations with some of music’s greatest artists, passed away Sunday, his representative confirmed to ABC News. He was 78.

“It is with sad and heavy hearts that we convey to you the loss of internationally renowned, 6 time Grammy Award-winning, saxophonist, David Sanborn,” read a post on Sanborn’s official Facebook page, announcing that he died “after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications.”

“Mr. Sanborn had been dealing with prostate cancer since 2018, but had been able to maintain his normal schedule of concerts until just recently,” the post continued. “Indeed he already had concerts scheduled into 2025.”

US saxophonist David Sanborn performs on the Stravinski Hall stage at the 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, late Thursday, July 9, 2009.

US saxophonist David Sanborn performs on the Stravinski Hall stage at the 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, late Thursday, July 9, 2009.

AP Photo/Keystone/Martial Trezzini

“David Sanborn was a seminal figure in contemporary pop and jazz music. It has been said that he ‘put the saxophone back into Rock ‘n Roll,'” the post concludes.

Sanborn, an alto saxophonist, was well known not only in the jazz world, but in pop, rock and R&B, as well. He released his first album, “Taking Off,” in 1975, which landed in the top 20 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. He went on to win six Grammy Awards, and RIAA-certified Gold albums and one Platinum album.

Sanborn performed and recorded with a host of musicians from a multitude of genres, including playing on David Bowie’s 1975 album “Young Americans”; with James Taylor on four albums, including the hit single “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”; and with Eric Clapton and Sting on the 1992 hit single “It’s Probably Me,” from the soundtrack to the movie “Lethal Weapon 3.”

Other artists with whom Sanborn recorded include The Who’s Roger Daltrey, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Eagles, and many others.

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