Coronavirus claims life of iconic Denver jazz musician

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DENVER (KDVR) -- An iconic jazz musician has passed away from complications of COVID-19, according to family members. 

Freddy Rodriguez Sr. passed away Wednesday at a Denver hospital after more than a week in intensive care. 

"He was in the hospital for about 10 days, and he just couldn't get back on track," said his son Freddy Rodriguez Jr. 

Rodriguez Jr. says the 89-year-old had underlying health problems and ended up on a ventilator. 

"It just took him," he said. "It took him a lot faster than we all wanted him to go, and we can't believe it."

It remains unclear how Rodriguez Sr. got the virus, according to his family. 

"He was just a great man, he would talk to everybody," his son said. "He would bring people up on stage that wanted to sit in and play with us." 

Rodriguez Sr. played the saxophone at El Chapultepec at 20th and Market streets for 40 years, with his quartet featured every Thursday night. 

Andrew Hudson played bass in that band. 

"He put Denver jazz on the map, in many ways," said Hudson. 

Hudson says Rodriguez's commitment to music was unlike anyone he's ever seen.

"He was 89 years old and he would still show up every Thursday and play his saxophone from 9 at night until 1 in the morning," he said.

Rodriguez's family is planning a celebration of life filled with music, once large gatherings are allowed again. 

"He'll be missed by everybody," his son said.

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