Dave Brubeck, jazz great, dead at 91

Published On: Dec 05 2012 12:48:33 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 05 2012 01:01:35 PM EST
NEW YORK -

Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as "Take Five" caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, has died. He was 91.

Brubeck died Wednesday morning of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son Darius, said his manager Russell Gloyd.

"We couldn't keep his heart going"

Gloyd told NBC News that Brubeck's son noticed that something was wrong with his father on the way to the doctor's appointment, called 911 while en route, and the two were met by medical personnel at the hospital.

"We couldn't keep his heart going," doctors told Brubeck's son.

Gloyd noted that prior to Brubeck's death, "He was getting tired; he was getting old. (But) he still had a great sense of humor."

Brubeck would have turned 92 on Thursday.

WATCH: Dave Brubeck performs 'Take 5'

Brubeck and his wife, Iola, had five sons and a daughter. Four of his sons — Chris on trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums, Darius on keyboards and Matthew on cello — played with the London Symphony Orchestra in a birthday tribute to Brubeck in December 2000.

"I think music has always been a good communication tool"

"We never had a rift," Chris Brubeck once said of living and playing with his father. "I think music has always been a good communication tool, so we didn't have a rift. We've always had music in common."