Grammy-Award Winning Sax Player David Sanborn Dead At 78


Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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David Sanborn, an influential saxophonist in the pop, R&B and jazz genres died Sunday at the age of 78.

His death was announced on his official Instagram page Monday.  “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,” his team wrote to social media. “Mr. Sanborn passed Sunday afternoon, May 12th, after an extended battle with prostate cancer with complications.”

The statement provided more information for fans forced to process the devastating news.

“Mr. Sanborn had been dealing with prostate cancer since 2018, but had been able to maintain his normal schedule of concerts until just recently,” his team wrote in their social media statement. “Indeed he already had concerts scheduled into 2025.”

“David Sanborn was a seminal figure in contemporary pop and jazz music,” they said as they honored his successful career and broad talents.

“It has been said that he ‘put the saxophone back into Rock ’n Roll,'” they wrote.

Sanborn’s publicist confirmed the news of his death with CNN, saying the tragedy occurred even though he was healthy enough to perform until quite recently.

The talented musician learned to play the saxophone shortly after he was diagnosed with polio at the age of three and music became an integral part of his healing process, according to CNN.

“By the age of 14, he was able to play with legends such as Albert King and Little Milton,” his official biography reads.


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“Sanborn went on to join the Butterfield Blues Band and played Woodstock with Paul Butterfield. His career took off and the saxophone player toured with Stevie Wonder, recording on Wonder’s ‘Talking Book’ album, playing with The Rolling Stones, and touring with David Bowie,” his website said.

Sanborn collaborated with the likes of Bowie, Paul Simon and James Taylor throughout his career.

He took home his first Grammy award for his song “All I Need Is You” in the R&B instrumental category.

Sanborn went on to win five additional Grammys.

The star was honored for his lifetime achievement in jazz in St. Louis, in Mar. 2024. (RELATED: Actress In Iconic ‘Jaws’ Scene Dead At 77)

“I’m so glad I am alive to receive this,” Sanborn said at the time. “I am deeply grateful and amazingly honored to receive this award in my hometown of St. Louis,” he said to The St. Louis American, at the time.