The following is taken from the Little Book of Heroin:
The word "revolutionary" is inappropriately thrown around when talking about jazz performers, but in Parker's case the word exactly describes his impact on music. Quite simply, before Parker, the saxophone was played one way and after him it was played differently--and it hasn't changed much since then. Parker died at the age of 34. His death is usually attributed to the abuse his body took from all of the drugs he did, but it is more likely that he did a lot of drugs to self-medicate many physical ailments.