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Weldon Irvine Dies

Jazz and funk pianist Weldon Irvine died on or about April 9 due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Best known for his tune “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” which Nina Simone famously covered in the mid-’60s, Irvine killed himself with a rifle on the front lawn of a Uniondale office complex in New York.

The date of death is unclear, as are details about the suicide, because reports say that it was several days before his body was found. He was 59 or 60 years old.

Irvine’s funky ’60s and ’70s soul-jazz and R&B fusion was often used as samples to create hip-hop tracks, and he returned the love by becoming a mentor and music teacher to hip-hop artists Q-Tip and Common and appearing on CDs by Mos Def and Black Star. In recent years the politically active Irvine had become known for his activism regarding the police brutality case with Amadou Diallo.

Originally Published