Dr. Lonnie Smith, the NEA Jazz Master who was highly acclaimed for his soulful, dynamic sound on the Hammond B3 organ, has died. He was 79.

Smith first became known as a member of the George Benson quartet in the 1960s and recorded early albums for Blue Note Records with saxophonist Lou Donaldson before finding success as a solo artist.

Known for his funky, inventive wizardry on his instrument of choice, Smith earned fans around the world for his unique, virtuosic style and spirited performances.

Smith’s death on Sept. 28 was confirmed by Blue Note Records. A spokesperson for the label said the cause of death was pulmonary fibrosis.