Steve Smith broke the news, at least in my blog reader. One of the last living connections to the bebop era, the last surviving member of the Massey Hall Quintet, has passed. He, Kenny Clarke and Roy Haynes laid the groundwork for all drummers after them, much like Bud Powell is the root of most pianistic developments.
I don't have much Max in my personal collection, but I've heard what must be a small sampling of the classic records countless times, and his sound is quite clear in my head. The Clifford Brown records offer definitive, textbook versions of tunes that have been studied by countless musicians. Money Jungle is an underrated piano trio recording of the highest calibre. The legacy and discography are too numerous to detail here - WKCR will have a marathon starting at noon EST. His willingness to embrace the developments of new music and of African music, his exploratory nature, is something we should all cherish and adopt.
I can't say I'm stunned - his health had been in question for some years, going back at least to his last appearance at Massey Hall commemorating the historic concert.