Saxophonist David Sanborn Dies at 78

by Patria
David Sanborn

New York, NY – David Sanborn, the Grammy Award-winning saxophonist renowned for his collaborations with music legends such as Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie, has passed away at the age of 78. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, Sanborn continued to perform despite his illness until he succumbed to the disease on Sunday, May 12, 2024.

A statement on his Instagram account announced, “It is with sad and heavy hearts that we convey to you the loss of internationally renowned, six-time Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, David Sanborn. Mr. Sanborn passed Sunday afternoon, May 12th, after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications.”

Sanborn, who contracted polio in his youth, began playing the saxophone on medical advice to strengthen his chest muscles and improve his breathing. By the late 1960s, he had joined The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and performed with them at the Woodstock music festival. He later carved out a significant career in the jazz scene, releasing 26 solo albums between 1975 and 2015.

The statement remembered Sanborn, who is survived by his wife, fellow performer Alice Soyer, as a “seminal figure” in contemporary pop and jazz music, noting that he “put the saxophone back into Rock ’n Roll.”

Sanborn had continued to schedule concerts into 2025 despite his illness, demonstrating his dedication to music until the end.

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