NEW YORK (AP) – Arif Mardin, the legendary Grammy Award-winning producer who worked with stars including Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Norah Jones, has died.

Mardin, 74, died Sunday, said his publicist, Lydia Sherwood. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Born in Turkey, Mardin came to the United States in 1958 after a meeting with Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones convinced him to make music his career. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating in 1961.

Mardin started working at Atlantic Records in 1963, subsequently became a producer and arranger, and ultimately a senior vice president.

He left in 2001, and worked at the revived Manhattan Records label later that year. He retired in 2004.

In Turkey, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer called Mardin one of the most important music producers of the 20th century and said he had made his native country proud.

“I was deeply saddened by the death of Arif Mardin, who is considered to be one of the most important music producers of the 20th century,” Sezer said in a written statement. “He will always be respectfully remembered as a person who made our nation proud.”

Sezer also conveyed his condolences to Mardin’s family and friends and to “the world of music.”

Mardin won numerous Grammy Awards, including producer of the year in 1975 and 2002.

He worked with an extensive list of artists, including The Young Rascals, Dusty Springfield, Hall and Oates, Bette Midler, Bee Gees, Roberta Flack, Barbara Streisand and Jewel.

Daryl Hall of Hall and Oates said in a written statement that Mardin was like a father figure to him. “There was never a more consummate arranger and musician on earth,” Hall said.


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