Posted on Facebook by Byrd's nephew, Alex Bugnon...
Donald passed away Monday in Delaware, where he lived. His funeral will be held in Detroit sometime next week. I have no more patience for this unnecessary shroud of secrecy placed over his death by certain members of his immediate family ( NOT His children! We are very tight! ) who are "handling" it. I'm letting y'all know, so spread it as far as you can! Let's remember Donald as a one of a kind pioneer of the trumpet, of the many styles of music he took on, of music education. In sum, Donald was an avid, eternal student of music, until his death. That's what I try to be, everyday!!
Rest in peace, uncle!"
ADDED: from Potholes In My Blog: " His influence, as you may know, is massive, as he played with everyone from John Coltrane to Eric Dolphy to Ahmad Jamal while amassing a highly notable discography in his own right. Additionally, Byrd left a huge mark on the hip-hop community, and it wasn’t just through producers sampling his music. Fans of Guru’s Jazzmatazz albums know full well that Byrd’s trumpet could be heard throughout the first two releases.
For us here at Potholes, two of Byrd’s most treasured moments came when J Dilla and Madlib reinterpreted his tunes on “Think Twice” and “Stepping into Tomorrow”, respectively..."
ADDED Feb 12: New York Times obit: Donald Byrd, Renegade Jazz Trumpeter, Dies at 80
Bio from LastFM:
Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II (born December 9, 1932) is an American jazz, rhythm and blues trumpeter. Born in Detroit, Michigan. He performed with Lionel Hampton before finishing high school. After playing in a military band during a term in the United States Air Force, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University and a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. While still at the Manhattan School he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, replacing Clifford Brown. After leaving the Jazz Messengers in 1956 he performed with a wide variety of highly regarded jazz musicians.
In the 1970s, he moved away from his previous hard-bop jazz base and began to record jazz fusion and rhythm and blues. Teaming up with the Mizell Brothers, he produced Black Byrd, which was enormously successful and became Blue Note Records’ highest-ever selling album. The follow-up albums, Places and Spaces, Steppin’ Into Tomorrow and Street Lady were also big sellers, and have subsequently provided a rich source of samples for hip-hop artists such as Us3.
He has taught music at Rutgers University, the Hampton Institute, New York University, Howard University, and Oberlin College. In 1974 he created the Blackbyrds, a fusion group consisting of his best students. They scored several major hits, including “Walking In Rhythm” and “Blackbyrds Theme”.
Full bio at AllMusic...