The cause of death was attributed to cardiac arrest. He was 85 years old.
During a 2008 interview for Ratliff’s The Jazz Ear book, the legendary saxophonist shared:
"For me it ain’t gonna get no better, and it ain’t gonna get no worse. I have to choose where I think I am in relation to what I believe. Basically, the only thing that I believe, truly, is that there’s only two destinations: one is life, and one is death."
He then added—"when death dies, the world is going to be incredible."