Steely Dan Keyboardist Jim Beard Dead at 63

The composer/producer joined the legendary rock group in 2008 and toured with them up until his death

<p>Jim Beard</p> Jim Beard of Steely Dan

Jim Beard

Jim Beard of Steely Dan

Jim Beard, a longtime member of Steely Dan, has died. He was 63.

A rep for the musician and keyboardist in the legendary rock band confirmed Beard’s death to PEOPLE on Wednesday.

The pianist/composer died on Saturday in a New York City hospital due to complications caused by a sudden illness. He was surrounded by loved ones at the time of his death.

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The band also shared a statement on their official website on Wednesday. “It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our friend and colleague,” the group currently led by co-founder Donald Fagen wrote.

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Beard was born on Aug. 26, 1960, in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Throughout his career, the musician was highly regarded for his work collaborating with jazz legends such as Wayne Shorter and John McLaughlin, among others.

In addition to his work as a composer and a producer, he joined Steely Dan in 2008 and remained a staple touring member.

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According to his biography, Beard also published over 100 compositions and produced music for renowned jazz artists such as Eliane Elias, Esperanza Spalding, Mike Stern and many others.

Beard released six solo studio albums, and performed in major orchestras, such as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Metropole Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra during his lifetime, as well.

In 2007, he won a Grammy for his contributions as a featured artist on The Brecker Bros. song “Some Skunk Funk,” which took home the gramophone for best large jazz ensemble album.

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The keyboardist was most recently out on the road with the “Reelin’ in the Years” group, as they are in the midst of supporting rock icons The Eagles on their final tour known as The Long Goodbye.

He last took to the stage and played to over 18,000 fans at their Jan. 20 concert at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Beard is survived by his two children, son Victor and daughter Caitlin Beard, and by his mother, Sarah, sister Nancy Canale, and brother, Bill Beard. 

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