He and fellow musician, Dizzy Gillespie, were the founders of a new sub-genre of jazz music, Bebop. Many of Parker's songs have become jazz standards and are widely incorporated into many current jazz musicians' repetoires.
Parker's was a complete virtuoso on his sax. His style of playing way fast, lyrical, and rhythmicly complex and his popularity brought an onslaught of copiers who transcribed and played his solos note-for-note.
He, like many musicians of his time, was a chronic heroin user and it was this activity and the effects of heavy drinking that ultimately led to his demise in 1955. News of his death travelled quickly through the jazz community and soon the phrase "Bird Lives" appeared as graffiti across New York subways.
His music has inspired many great musicians such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, and Yo-Yo Ma.