Legendary jazz saxophonist Johnny Griffin has died at the age of 80.
The American tenor, who was nicknamed the Little Giant, passed away at his home in Mauprevoir, France on Friday (25Jul08), his agent Helene Manfredi has confirmed.
The cause of death is currently unknown.
His passing comes just hours before he was due to perform with the likes of Rhoda Scott, French saxophonist Olivier Temime and drummer Julie Saury.
Griffin, full name John Arnold Griffin III, began his career in 1945 when he joined jazz star Lionel Hampton's orchestra after studying music at the DuSable High School in his native Chicago, Illinois.
He went on to make a name for himself in the music industry with collaborations with peers including drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Nat Adderley.
However, he is perhaps best remembered for his work with fellow tenor John Coltrane - the pair released their Blue Note album, A Blowing Session, in 1957 to much acclaim.
Griffin moved to Europe shortly afterwards and set up home in France for the majority of his latter years, where he continued to record and perform until his death.