Richard Turner died at 27 years and 12 days old on August 11, 2011. He was a trumpet player and a composer, a band leader and a sideman, and by all accounts was an incredibly gifted and versatile musician, as well as a wonderful human being. His major activity other than music was swimming, at which he also excelled. His unfortunate death happened while he was swimming, and was attributed to cardiac arrest – a heart attack. Lifeguards were on duty at the public pool at Brockwell Lido in South London, when he appeared to be having difficulty in the water. They were able to administer CPR and called for paramedics, but their efforts were to no avail. He died a short time later at a hospital, the result of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
Turner was born in Leeds, England, and enjoyed an idyllic childhood there. His parents were musical and professional, his father being a saxophonist in symphony groups and his mother being a teacher of music both privately and in the schools. They encouraged him to try the trumpet, and he felt immediately at home with the instrument. By the time he was 16 years old, he was ready to move on to professional studies at the Leeds College of Music, and his musical career was on its way.
During his brief life Turner played an impressive variety of styles of music, but his first love was jazz. He had a warm, melodic approach to the horn that emulated such masters as Clark terry and Miles Davis. He wrote music and recorded with his own band, Round Trip, played with many other combos and for recording sessions, and joined the pop band Friendly Fires on tour supporting their albums for almost 3 years. His death was shocking and unexpected, and the world lost a major talent with his passing.
He is the most recent musician to become a member of the forever 27 club, and he is an example of an outlier. His path to the day of his death in a public pool was not marred by an unhappy childhood, dreadful teen angst, substance abuse, or risk-taking behaviors. His heart simply gave out when he was at the critical age of 27, and sealed his fate as a new member.
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