Ilham Gencer

Turkish Jazz Music Legend Ilham Gencer dies at age 100

Ilham Gencer, one of Türkiye’s first local jazz band pianists, died at the age of 100, his son said on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

“My father, the father of Türkiye, my dear, the reason for my existence. We lost Bozkurt Ilham Gencer, a good person in the world. We are in great sadness,” his son Bora Gencer said on Instagram.

Gencer, a pioneer of Turkish jazz music, celebrated his 100th birthday on Aug. 30 last year at a special event in the Bodrum district of Türkiye’s Aegean province of Mugla.

Late on Wednesday, his son told reporters that Gencer fell ill and was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Gencer’s body will be sent to Istanbul by plane on Thursday, his son said, and the legendary artist’s funeral will be held at Istanbul’s Zincirlikuyu Cemetery on Friday.

Gencer started his music career at the age of 5 with the lessons he received from his mother and playing the console piano in their home.

Known also as the composer of the Turkish version of the Happy Birthday song, Gencer collaborated and performed along with several prominent musicians, including Turkish diva Ajda Pekkan. (AA)

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