Johnny Mandel, the famed Hollywood composer behind the theme song for classic sitcom M*A*S*H, has died at the age of 94. Mandel's daughter, Marissa, confirmed the death via the New York Times.
Mandel's longtime pal Michael Feinstein also shared the news on Monday (June 29) via a heartfelt Facebook post. "A dear friend and extraordinary composer arranger and all-around brilliant talent Johnny Mandel just passed away," the musician wrote. "The world will never be quite the same without his humor, wit and wry view of life and the human condition. He was truly beyond compare, and nobody could write or arrange the way he did. Lord we will miss him. Let's celebrate him with his music! He would like that."
In a statement emailed to Billboard, ASCAP president and songwriter Paul Williams also weighed in on the loss of Mandel: "Giant. Genius. Gentleman. There are many ways to describe the legendary composer Johnny Mandel. His incredible music spanned decades, mediums, oceans and firmly established him in the American Songbook canon. I had the great honor of witnessing his unique gifts personally when we co-wrote a song 'Close Enough for Love.' I cherish that experience. Johnny proudly served his fellow music creators on the ASCAP Board for many years and his work paved the way for future generations of songwriters and composers to pursue a life in music as he had. He was a true jazz spirit and that spirit will live on in his music and in our hearts for eternity."