Singer Al Jarreau died Sunday in Los Angeles, just days after retiring from touring, his manager told Ebony Magazine. He was 76.

The singer was surrounded by family and friends when he died at 5:30 a.m.

A small, private service is planned, said the manager, Joe Gordon.

Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards in his 50-year career, but cut off his touring schedule this month after falling ill with exhaustion. He had been scheduled to sing this month at venues in his native Wisconsin.

Singer Chaka Khan tweeted that Jarreau was “everything jazz and beyond, with an unrivaled improvisational genius.”

And Paula Abdul called him “legendary” and said she was “inspired by his music and his voice — so different and so unique.”

Flowers were to be placed on Jarreau’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame at 5 p.m. Sunday. He was honored with the star in 2001.

Born in Milwaukee, Jarreau arrived as a jazz singer on the Sunset Strip in the 1960s, and rose to national fame through guest shots on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” and shows hosted by Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, Mike Douglas and others.

He was featured singer on one installment of the first season of “NBC’s Saturday Night Live,” and in 1976 issued an album that made him an international star, “We Got By.” Jarreau’s first crossover hit in the U.S. — “We’re In This Love Together” — made him a stalwart on soft jazz radio stations across the country.

But it was his theme song for the hit TV show “Moonlighting” that may have been his most famous work.

Several weeks ago, Jarreau abruptly cancelled his touring schedule, and was hospitalized for exhaustion.

He died at 5:30 a.m. Sunday with his wife Sandy and son Ryan at his side, said his manager, Gordon.

In lieu of flowers, Gordon suggested mourners contribute in Jarreau’s name to the Wisconsin Foundation For School Music.

A notice on aljarreau.com reads as follows:

Al Jarreau passed away this morning, February 12, 2017.  He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few family and close friends.   He will be missed.   The family asks that no flowers or gifts are sent.  Instead, please consider a contribution to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, a wonderful organization which supports music opportunities, teachers, and scholarships for students in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin.  Link to the donation Page:  http://foundation4schoolmusic.org/lifetime-achievement-award/al-jarreau/. Even if you do not plan to contribute, please visit that page and give yourself a minute to watch a beautiful tribute video which was produced by Wisconsin Public Television.   A few days ago, I was asked to describe Al to someone who knew of his success, but did not know him as a person.  I responded with this:  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.   A few things I think Al would want mentioned right now: To Al’s wife, son, sister, brothers and family:  You allowed Al to share himself with the world.  He was grateful that you gave him that gift.  He knew it was difficult, and regretted that more than he could explain.  Please know that your gift was to us, too, and that we are also grateful.   To everyone who attended his concerts and listened to his albums:  He needed you, and you were always there for him, for more than 50 years.  He was thankful for you every day and tried to show that to each of you.   To his band, and to the many, many talented musicians, writers, composers, and arrangers who played and collaborated with him over the years:  You enabled, supported and thrilled him.  He treasured you, and considered you brilliant.  He loved sharing the stage with you, and was honored that you shared it with him.   To each promoter, presenter and producer:  Thank you for your faith in him.  Your commitment to Al was both essential and endless, and he never took you for granted.   To his agents, managers, crew, counselors, publicists, and journalists who supported his work, and also to all of the airline, hotel, venue and other people who hosted him like royalty:  He noticed every bit of the dedication and effort that you unselfishly provided without limits.  And, he appreciated you completely.   To young people everywhere, especially the musicians he was grateful to meet at school workshops, musical competitions, residencies, and at concerts:  From you, Al asks a favor.  Please find any artistic thing that you can do with passion, and do it.  With art in your life, you will be a better family member, neighbor, friend, and citizen.     Finally, to Al Jarreau, from all of us:  Thank you.  You completed your ministry in a gracious way.  Godspeed… you’ve earned it.  

–City News Service and staff

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