The musician died at a retirement home in California from complications of Parkinson’s disease, his wife Queen Bey Blythe confirmed to the New York Times.

A post on his Facebook page stated that he died in the early hours of Monday (27Mar17) morning.

“Early this morning the great Arthur Blythe passed,” the post read. “As many of you know he was a gentle soul and a musical genius. He had been fighting Parkinson’s disease for several years. His spirit will live on in his unique music, which he humbly gave to our universe.”

The Los Angeles native, who was also known as Black Arthur Blythe, made his name playing with jazz trumpeter Don Cherry alongside blacklisted musician Horace Tapscott before becoming a leading light in the second wave of avant garde jazz players in '70s New York.

His Lenox Avenue Breakdown album from 1979 was described as a “masterpiece” in the Penguin Modern Guide to Jazz, and considered a landmark release of that period.

Blythe's performances on his final recording, 2003 album Exhale, was described by critics as “absolutely devastating”.

In addition to his wife Queen Bey, Blythe is survived by his children from his second marriage, daughter Odessa, and two sons, Chalee and Arthur Jr.