Roy Eldridge, one of the great innovators of the jazz trumpet who gained prominence with Gene Krupa's band and later toured with Benny Goodman, has died at age 78.

Eldridge died Sunday at Franklin General Hospital in Valley Stream. No cause of death was given. His wife, Viola, died three weeks ago. They had been married 53 years.Fellow jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis said Eldridge was "one of the most exciting" jazz trumpeters.

"One mistake that experts make is to say that he was the `link' between Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, but he was much more. He was a giant in his own right," Faddis said.