Bruce Lundvall, who spent 50 years in the music industry, died on May 19 in a hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., from complications of Parkinson's disease. He was 79.

According to the Washington Post, Lundvall got his start in 1960 when he took an entry-level job in the marketing department of Columbia Records. He worked his way up through the company and, in 1976, was named president of CBS Records.

And while his position meant that he had some degree of influence on the careers of virtually all the rock artists on CBS' roster -- which, at the time, included Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel -- his true love was jazz. His six-year spell at the top saw CBS return to prominence as a home for top jazz artists.

After two years spent starting up Elektra Musician, the jazz division of Elektra, he was given the chance to bring his career full circle when EMI hired him to revive Blue Note, the legendary jazz label that had turned him down for a job before he joined Columbia. No longer dormant, Blue Note flourished under his watch, not just as a jazz label but also branching out into adult-minded pop and soul. Its biggest success came in 2002 with the release of Come Away With Me by Norah Jones, whom he personally signed. The album won eight Grammys and has sold 10 million copies.

“Bruce was a one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life human being,” Don Was, who is currently the head of Blue Note, said in a statement. “His Joie de Vivre was equaled only by his love for music, impeccable taste and kind heart. He will be sorely missed by all of us who loved and admired him but his spirit will live forever in the music of Blue Note Records.”

Lundvall retired after being diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2010. He is survived by his wife, three sons, a sister, a brother and two grandchildren.

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