Toots Thielemans: Harmonica player on Sesame Street theme dies at 94


Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans has died at the age of 94, his manager has said.

He was widely regarded as one of the world’s top harmonica players and was well known for appearing on the Sesame Street and Midnight Cowboy themes.

The musician’s real name was Jean-Baptiste Thielemans but he was known affectionately as Toots.

He died in his sleep at a hospital in Brussels, his manager Veerle Van de Poel told AFP.

Thielemans was born in 1922 in the working class Marolles district of Brussels.

He first came to prominence when he joined Benny Goodman on a European tour in 1950.

Thielemans later moved to the US where he worked with other jazz greats including Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald.

He also collaborated with Peggy Lee, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel and Edith Piaf across his 70-year career.

The musician also performed on many film soundtracks including Jean de Florette, Cinderella Liberty, The Sugarland Express and The Yakuza.

He announced his retirement from music in 2014, citing health issues.