Popular Classic Rock Star Has Passed Away

Keyboard player Jim Beard had played with on tour with the band Steely Dan since 2008. He performed with the band as recently as January 20, 2024, less than 2 months ago. He also performed on tour with the band The Eagles.

Unfortunately, Beard died on March 2, 2024, at a hospital in New York City. He was 63 years old at the time of his death.

According to a statement shared with The New York Post by Beard’s representative, his death was related to complications that he suffered from a sudden illness. The statement did not specify an exact cause of death or what the illness was. The representative added that Beard’s loved ones were with him in his final moments.

Upon learning the news of Beard’s death, Steely Dan also released a brief statement on their website. The band wrote, “It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our friend and colleague. JIM BEARD 1960 – 2024″

Beard was born in Pennsylvania and began his musical career in the world of jazz. He worked with such jazz musicians as John McLaughlin and Wayne Shorter. He also had a successful career as a solo artist and released a total of six solo albums. 

Besides touring, recording and performing on stage, Beard also had a career teaching music. He worked as a professor at multiple universities in the United States and internationally. In the United States, he taught at Aaron Copland School of Music, the Berklee College of Music and the Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University. Internationally, he taught at the Sibelius Academy in Finland.

Upon learning the news of his death, many fellow musicians paid tribute to the late musician.

On X (formerly Twitter), jazz drummer Peter Erskine wrote, “Jim was the glue and such a great presence on so many projects. I’m going to miss the man, his wit and his musical incisiveness. You made a difference, Jim.”

Meanwhile, producer and saxophonist Ben Wendel wrote on X, “Thank you for everything Jim Beard. You were a musical giant and inspiration to so many. I am incredibly grateful I had a chance to hang with you and get a little insight into your genius.”

Beard is survived by his mother, his sister, his brother and his two children. Watch the video below to learn more about Beard’s career and the sad news of his death.