Entertainment: Al Schmitt, renowned sound engineer for Ray Charles and Paul McCartney, dies at 91

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Al Schmitt, a recording engineer who worked with some of the greatest names in the music industry, died on Monday at 91. His family confirmed the news on Schmitt's official Facebook page.

Al Schmitt standing in front of a laptop computer: Maury Phillips/WireImage Al Schmitt in a recording studio © Provided by Entertainment Weekly Maury Phillips/WireImage Al Schmitt in a recording studio

"Al Schmitt's wife Lisa, his five children, eight grandchildren, and five great grandchildren would like his friends and extended recording industry family to know that he passed away Monday afternoon, April 26," the family wrote in a statement. "The world has lost a much loved and respected extraordinary individual, who led an extraordinary life. The most honored and awarded recording producer/engineer of all time, his parting words at any speaking engagement were, 'Please be kind to all living things.' Loved and admired by his recording colleagues, and by the countless artists he worked with, from Jefferson Airplane, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, Dr. John, Natalie Cole and Jackson Browne to Bob Dylan — and so many more — Al will be sorely missed. He was a man who loved deeply, and the friendships, love and admiration he received in return enriched his life and truly mattered to him. A light has dimmed in the world, but we all learned so much from him in his time on earth, and are so very grateful to have known him."

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Al Schmitt standing in front of a laptop computer: Al Schmitt in a recording studio © Maury Phillips/WireImage Al Schmitt in a recording studio

On Twitter, performers like Michael Buble, Michael Bolton, and former Beach Boys member Brian Wilson all paid tribute to Schmitt, posting memories and photos of their friend.


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"Thank you for your kindness, your compassion, the memories, and the music," Buble wrote, while Bolton posted, "Remembering and recognizing the great recording engineer Al Schmitt, Legendary for his gifts in the studio, Beloved for the human being he has always been."

Schmitt started his career at Apex Recording Studios in New York when he was only 19, working with sound engineer Tom Dowd. One of his first solo sound engineering sessions came when he worked with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra. Schmitt eventually moved to Los Angeles to work for RCA before he started independently producing music for some of music's greatest artists.

Schmitt earned at least 20 Grammy wins for his work with acclaimed artists such as Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, and Ray Charles — more than any other sound engineer in history. He was also the recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

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