Duke Ellington merged swing, ragtime and jazz into his music during his time alive. His early life consisted of ragtime and his later years consisted of jazz. He wanted to spread positivity through music each time he performed any instrument. In 1960 Duke was awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal which is the highest achievement by an American Negro at the time. His noble accomplishments set him aside from other composers. He was raised with respect and honor and that followed him throughout his days. On May 23, 1967 Duke Ellington caught pneumonia and died the next day. His legacy was never tarnished because he was a man of character. He never had a down period because his talent and ability to network always kept him up. He was never without a job because he was the greatest composer in the history of jazz and one of the greatest composers in the history of American music.