Legendary Italian DJ Claudio Coccoluto dies aged 59

Tributes have been paid by Pete Tong, UNKLE and more

Legendary Italian DJ Claudio Coccoluto has died at the age of 59.

The news was confirmed yesterday (March 2) by the Italian station Radio Deejay, where Coccoluto used to host the COCCO show.

According to the report, Coccoluto passed away after “fighting for more than a year against an illness”.

Tributes have since been paid online by the likes of Pete Tong, Defected Records and Glitterbox owner Simon Dunmore, Gilles Peterson and UNKLE. You can see their messages below.

Dunmore described Coccoluto as “a giant in the Italian House scene” and shared ‘Belo Horizonti’, which the late DJ released in the mid-’90s under the moniker The Heartists alongside Savino Martinez.

Later remixed by Basement Jaxx, the song was hailed by Dunmore as an “absolute gem” and “a Balearic classic”. “There’s some after party going on in heaven right now,” he concluded.

Pete Tong posted the same track as part of his tribute, tweeting: “Sad to hear that Italian legend Claudio Coccoluto has passed away. Our thoughts are with his friends and family. RIP (Track Playing: Claudio Coccoluto presents The Heartists “Belo Horizonti”).”

Meanwhile, Gilles Peterson wrote that he was “so sad” to hear about Coccoluto’s death. “An Icon of Italian DJ culture… a true gentleman… always curious, always excited to exchange music and always a thrill watching him in action. RIP,” he added.

UNKLE said: “Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of Claudio Coccoluto. A fucking amazing DJ and one of my all time favourites. A big inspiration, he was such a great person to be around. Full of that incredible Italian energy and always incredibly kind to me.”

In a follow-up tweet, UNKLE’s James Lavelle looked back on “some amazing times DJing and partying” with Coccoluto, adding: “His contribution to dance music culture is unquestionable… A true legend. Rest in peace brother.”

Coccoluto is said to have died in Cassino, which is approximately 80 miles south-east of Rome. According to Mixmag, the town’s mayor has said that a mural will be painted in his honour.

Born in Gaeta in 1962, Claudio Coccoluto founded the Italian house label The Dub in 1997. He also released records through Parlophone (as well as its sublabel Credence), Wound Music and Jolly Jams.