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Jazz pianist Stan Tracey dies at 86

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Dec 06, 2013 | 1:04pm EST

Acclaimed British jazz pianist Stan Tracey has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 86. The sad news was announced in a post on the official Stan Tracey Appreciation page on Facebook.com on Friday (06Dec13). The message, posted online by his relative Ben Tracey, reads: "It is with deepest regret that I must announce the death of Stan Tracey... today, at the age of 86. After a struggle with illness, he passed away having recently celebrated his 70 year professional career as a jazz pianist/composer. "He is survived by a family who love him, and will miss him profoundly. His legacy is the generations of musicians young and old, past and future who have his influential example to look to. Many thanks to all those who have shown him such love and support over these many years." Tracey, who has been hailed as the godfather of British jazz, started his career as an accordion player during World War II. He then switched to the piano and performed with the Ted Heath band and served as the house pianist at London's iconic Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club for six years from 1959. The musician received several awards throughout his career, including a lifetime achievement accolade at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2002 and the first Ivor Novello award for jazz in 2012. He was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1986 and was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2008. Paying tribute to Tracey on Twitter.com, jazz star Jamie Cullum writes, "He played like a demon right up until his last days on earth as an Eightysomething (sic)."

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