Pianist, composer and jazz fusion great Chick Corea has died after a short battle with cancer. He was 79. The sad news was shared via Chick's Facebook, saying that the rare form of cancer he had had only been discovered recently.

Chick also left a message for his fans, writing, “I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.

“And to my amazing musician friends who have been like family to me as long as I’ve known you: It has been a blessing and an honor learning from and playing with all of you. My mission has always been to bring the joy of creating anywhere I could, and to have done so with all the artists that I admire so dearly—this has been the richness of my life.”

Chick got his start in the '60s and while he put out records under his own name, he was also a sideman of choice, playing with Stan Getz, Blue Mitchell, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Mann and others. It was when he joined Miles Davis' electric ensemble, though, that things really took off, playing on the landmark Bitches Brew and more. With his own group, Return to Forever, he became one of jazz fusion's leading lights, and continued to explore new sounds and sonic avenues, over the years.

Rest in peace, Chick. Listen to some of his music and read the full statement from his family, below.

UPDATE: Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Q-Tip, Rosalia and more pay tribute to Chick Corea.

It is with great sadness we announce that on February 9th, Chick Corea passed away at the age of 79, from a rare form of cancer which was only discovered very recently.

Throughout his life and career, Chick relished in the freedom and the fun to be had in creating something new, and in playing the games that artists do.

He was a beloved husband, father and grandfather, and a great mentor and friend to so many. Through his body of work and the decades he spent touring the world, he touched and inspired the lives of millions.

Though he would be the first to say that his music said more than words ever could, he nevertheless had this message for all those he knew and loved, and for all those who loved him:

“I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us. It’s not only that the world needs more artists, it’s also just a lot of fun.

“And to my amazing musician friends who have been like family to me as long as I’ve known you: It has been a blessing and an honor learning from and playing with all of you. My mission has always been to bring the joy of creating anywhere I could, and to have done so with all the artists that I admire so dearly—this has been the richness of my life.”

Chick’s family will of course appreciate their privacy during this difficult time of loss.