Béla Szakcsi Lakatos, an iconic figure of Hungarian jazz, died on Sunday morning, at the age of 79, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.
Multiple award-winning Szakcsi Lakatos was a pianist, composer, holder of the Artist of the Nation title, and “a towering figure of Hungarian jazz,” the Hungarian Jazz Federation posted on Facebook.
Lakatos received the highest state honor, the Kossuth Award, in 2005 and the Artist of the Nation title in 2014. In 2019, he was the artistic director of the European Roma Festival Orchestra project.
“He was able to do what only the greatest can do: play from the heart – for our souls,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote on Facebook.
“One of the greatest figures of Hungarian jazz music, our Kossuth Prize-winning pianist has passed away. My sincere condolences to the family. God be with you, Maestro Béla Szakcsi Lakatos!”, President Katalin Novák wrote.