Legendary Saxophonist David Sanborn, Six-Time Grammy-Winner, Dies at 78

Saxophonist David Sanborn performs during the 4th Annual Jazz Spectacular at Michigan Lott
Monica Morgan/Getty

Legendary saxophonist David Sanborn died on Sunday at the age of 78 following a six-year battle with prostate cancer.

“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 an announcement posted to Sanborn’s social media accounts on Monday.

It is with sad and heavy hearts that we convey to you the loss of internationally renowned, 6 time Grammy Award-winning,…

Posted by David Sanborn on Monday, May 13, 2024

“Mr. Sanborn passed Sunday afternoon, May 12th, after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications,” the message continued, adding that the saxophonist “had been dealing with prostate cancer since 2018, but had been able to maintain his normal schedule of concerts until just recently. ”

“Indeed he already had concerts scheduled into 2025,” the message added.

The announcement concluded by stating that Sanborn “was a seminal figure in contemporary pop and jazz music,” noting that it has been said he “put the saxophone back into Rock ’n Roll.”

Sanborn, who played the alto saxophone, got his big break in 1967 playing in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with which he ended up performing at Woodstock, according to a report by TMZ.

Watch Below:

He was known for connecting the worlds of jazz, rock, blues, and R&B throughout his career.

Sanborn also recorded with “rock and soul legends including, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, D’Angelo, Al Jarreau, Billy Joel, Elton John, Carly Simon, and The Rolling Stones,” among many others, TMZ noted.

Additionally, Sanborn played in the Saturday Night Live band in 1980, and was oftentimes seen on Late Night with David Letterman in Paul Shaffer’s band.

Watch Below:

The saxophonist also had eight gold albums and one platinum album.

Sanborn is survived by his wife Alice, his son Jonathan, and his two granddaughters, as well as his sisters Sallie and Barb.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.