Celebrated jazz trumpeter MAYNARD FERGUSON, best known for his recording of the Rocky theme song, has died. He was 78. The Canadian musician died on Wednesday (23AUG06) in Ventura, California after suffering liver and kidney failure brought on by an abdominal infection. Ferguson's death comes just weeks after he and his BIG BOP NOUVEAU band recorded a new album and enjoyed several sold out performances at the famed Blue Note Club in New York City. He regularly performed for packed houses and played with music legends such as COUNT BASIE, DUKE ELLINGTON, DIZZY GILLESPIE, CHARLIE BARNETT, JIMMY DORSEY and STAN KENTON. Ferguson went on to become the leader of his own big band in 1946 and recorded more than 60 albums, receiving numerous honours including a Grammy nomination for his song GONNA FLY NOW. In 2005, Ferguson was awarded Canada's highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada. He was preparing for a tour in September (06) in Tokyo, Japan and had been invited to play for the King of Thailand's 80th birthday in January (07).