Grammy-nominated jazz legend passes away at 72

Jazz and blues legend Barbara Morrison passed away Wednesday at 72 after a career that spanned over 50 years.

It was unclear what the cause of death was, but a GoFundMe page launched for her in early March said “she was sent to the hospital with cardiovascular disease.”

Morrison had lost both legs a decade ago to diabetes — although it was unclear, too, if diabetes played any role in her current health struggles.

She was described as “one of Los Angeles’ top jazz vocalists” by the Los Angeles Times.

“After she moved to Los Angeles in 1971 at age 21, steady work with blues great Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson and performances on ‘The Johnny Otis Show’ grounded Morrison in blues and jazz,” the Times reported.

“Eddie used to tell me, ‘Get your own sound, girl!’ ” she said in a 2011 interview.

“Johnny said, ‘Why are you singin’ like Barbra Streisand? You need to learn your own people’s music!’”

That she did, becoming notable both for her own work as well as guest appearances on dozens of records. She was nominated for the

Her best-known works included the albums “I Know How to Do It” in 1996 and “Visit Me” in 1999. Her best known guest appearance was as the lead singer on “Swingin’ the Blues” by trumpeter Doc Severinsen.

She was also an associate professor at UCLA, teaching jazz studies. In her community, she was known for giving back.

“She helped a lot of young people … her classes often were free … if you wanted to learn the music business or jazz, Barbara Morrison was there to teach. If you didn’t have the money, no problem,” radio host Tavis Smiley told KNBC-TV.

“It’s just a big big loss.. everybody I talked to .. tears galore,” said Morrison’s manager, Timothy Morganfield.

“If you needed help or something, she’d give you the shirt off her back.”

The loss is sudden. While Morrison is 72, keep in mind that’s on the young side — particularly when you consider the U.S. president is 79. She had been scheduled to perform in Hollywood on the night she died.

Instead, mourners were gathering at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center — a venue named for the beloved jazz icon in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Leimert Park, where she was a fixture.

“We look at her like a super mama because it don’t matter what position a person was in … she helped out everybody,” said Leimert Park resident Hipp Toss.