“Pioneer in pop” DJ and dance music artist Ari Gold dies aged 47

"He was out long before it was fashionable and took so many artistic risks"

New York City-based dance music artist and DJ Ari Gold has died at the age of 47.

According to multiple reports, Gold passed away yesterday (February 14) following a long battle with leukemia.

Friends and collaborators reacted to the news, which was spotlighted in a post by DragRace‘s RuPaul, with tributes and remembrances to one of the first openly gay dance music artists.

Laverne Cox, LGBTQIA+ activist and star of Orange Is The New Black, said: “So many people have come and gone from my life over the past 25 years but you have been a constant,” she wrote on Instagram. “As I’ve grown and evolved, you evolved with me. The spiritual journey we’ve both been on has made it clear why we’ve remained in each other’s lives for so long. I’m so utterly devastated that you’ve moved on today.”

RuPaul wrote: “Until we meet again, dear friend. @SirAriGold Love always, Ru.” alongside a photo of the late musician.

RuPaul also shared a clip from Gold’s podcast, titled ‘A Kiki From The Cancer Ward’, in which they spoke about Gold’s battle after he was “cancer free” in 2019.

On Instagram, director and musician John Cameron Mitchell wrote: “What a light and a pioneer in pop. He was out long before it was fashionable and took so many artistic risks. Loved him. What a sweetheart. Wishing his friends and family peace of heart and mind. Rest In Peace dear Ari.”

Sex And The City actor Mario Cantone wrote: “Rest In Peace Ari Gold. My Beautiful Talented friend. Trailblazer! Front Runner. Gold Heart. #RIPAriGold”

Gold, who also performed under the names Sir Ari and GoldNation, sang with Diana Ross and Cyndi Lauper, collaborated with Boy George, and opened for Chaka Khan during his career.

As Rolling Stone reports, his 2004 music video ‘Wave Of You’ was the first video by an out LGBTQIA+ artist to world-premiere on Viacom’s Logo network.

Gold released seven solo albums in his lifetime: 2001’s ‘Ari Gold’, 2004’s ‘Space Under Sun’, 2005’s ‘The Remixes’, 2007’s ‘Transport Systems’, 2011’s ‘Between The Spirit & The Flesh’, 2013’s ‘Play My F**kn Remix’ and 2015’s ‘Soundtrack To Freedom’.