DJ and producer Frankie Knuckles has died, aged 59.
Known as the ‘Godfather Of House’, Knuckles was widely credited with being one of the founders of the post-disco Chicago house scene. He is believed to have died from complications with diabetes, Billboard reports.
Knuckles was the musical director of South Loop nightclub The Warehouse – where house music got its name from. It was there that he first started mixing disco and European electronic tracks. He later ran his own venue, the Power Plant.
Born in The Bronx in 1955, he began DJing in New York in the early ’70s while he was still a teenager, before he moved to Chicago.
As well as a DJ, Knuckles was also a prolific producer and remixer. He founded Def Mix Productions with David Morales, working with major pop acts including Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan and En Vogue.
Many artists and DJs joined tributes on social media following the news. The Roots drummer Questlove tweeted, “Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. He was the DJ that DJs aspired to be. True dance pioneer.”
DJ Vince Lawrence wrote on Facebook. “A legend has fallen. All hail Frankie Knuckles an inspiration to us all.”
The City of Chicago renamed a stretch of Jefferson Street near the site of the old Warehouse club ‘Frankie Knuckles Way’ in 2004. Knuckles was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.