"He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz", New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement Wednesday night. "The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family, and to all of those whose lives he touched", Cantrell wrote.
The New Orleans music legend had been hospitalized and tested for the Covid-19 virus.
New Orleans jazz legend known as a pianist and teacher as well as the father of Wynton and Branford Marsalis, died Wednesday from complications of COVID-19.More news: Astronomers find best evidence for elusive mid-sized black hole
Ellis Marsalis Jr. achieved a degree in music education from Dillard University, switching to piano from his early days on clarinet. Yet he still managed to record more than 15 albums of his own in addition to collaborations with his sons. After his studies, Marsalis played in jazz bands in New Orleans.
His musical teaching went far beyond family.
As well as mentoring his sons Wynton and Branford to becoming two of the world's most famous musicians, he was a leading figure at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and the Xavier University of Louisiana. Marsalis became the first chair of the jazz studies program at the University of New Orleans in 1989, retiring just past year.More news: 3D video shows the extent of lung damage in coronavirus patient
Marsalis was born in New Orleans, son of the operator of a hotel where Marsalis met touring black musicians who couldn't stay at the segregated downtown hotels where they performed.
Marsalis retired from UNO in 2001 but continued performing, particularly at Snug Harbor, a small club that anchored the city's contemporary jazz scene - frequently backing young promising musicians.
He went on to teach the new generation of jazz musicians including his four sons, saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo, drummer Jason and trumpeter Wynton. Marsalis returned to New Orleans and married Dolores Ferdinand.More news: Pop star sorry for coronavirus April fool's joke