The musician, who played in top 1970s jazz fusion bands Weather Report and The Eleventh House, went into cardiac arrest on Sunday and died, his son Jean-Pierre Mouzon tells The New York Times. Alphonse, who had been battling a rare form of cancer, was 68.

He began his career in the 1960s after taking drum lessons from jazz pianist Billy Taylor's band member Bobby Thomas, and got an early start working on Broadway, playing percussion in the show Promises, Promises.

His big break came when he joined Weather Report and performed on the group's self-titled 1971 release, before embarking on a stint with The Eleventh House.

He later established himself as a solo artist, signing a deal with the celebrated Blue Note record label in 1972, and went on to perform with artists like Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, and Carlos Santana.

The Roots drummer Questlove was one of Alphonse's big fans, and he took to Instagram to honour his musical hero.

"If you were to ask #JohnBonham of LedZep (Led Zeppelin) who his drumming hero was. He'd no doubt declare the great #AlphonseMouzon the fairest of them all," he wrote. "And that is a correct statement. I can't even BEGIN to tell you of his influence on me drumming. Rest In Beats Alphonse!"