Celebrity Jazz Great Ornette Coleman Has Died The experimental musician was the first person to win a Pulitzer Prize for a recording By Danielle Anderson Published on June 11, 2015 02:10 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Greetsia Tent/WireImage Jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman, the saxophonist and composer credited as being one of the most powerful innovators in the history of jazz, died on Thursday morning in New York City at the age of 85. According to The New York Times, the cause was cardiac arrest. Coleman was an innovator in the more experimental areas of jazz, branching out into be-bop, free jazz (a term he coined) and other different styles over his six-decade-long career. He also won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2005 live improvised recording Sound Grammar, marking the first time a recording had won that award. Coleman performed and recorded up until his death.