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Chicago Music And Footwork Pioneer DJ Rashad Dies

Progressive producer, DJ and mastermind of Chicago’s footwork scene DJ Rashad has been found dead of a suspected drug overdose. News reports allege that the house music legend was found unresponsive by a friend on Chicago’s West Side at 1.30 pm on Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 34.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago officer Ana Pacheco said that drugs and drug paraphernalia were found near the body. An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday and an official statement is expected on Monday, Chicago time.

DJ Godfather, who was supposed to perform alongside Rashad on Saturday, first reported the news on Twitter, writing that sources had informed him that Rashad died earlier in the day. Since then, numerous artists have been paying their respects to the late DJ, including longtime collaborator DJ Spinn, DJ J-Cush and Chance the Rapper.

Born Rashad Harden, the producer and DJ was a global ambassador for footwork, a frenetic and hypnotic genre of music and an accompanying dance style that builds upon Chicago’s historic house music with even more complex rhythms and experimental sounds.

Rashad’s father told the Sun-Times his DJ son was a big part of the local music scene, having started out as a DJ when he was 10 or 11 years old. “Since he was a kid, he’s been doing this,” Harden said. “He knew what he wanted to do, and a lot of us don’t get a chance to make our dream come true.”

“He shared his music with everyone that would listen,” Rashad’s father said. “He’s been all over the world, taking footwork all over the world. He’s done quite a bit over his short time.” Rashad had a 9-year-old son, Chad.

Rashad’s most recent album Double Cup was released last October by the British label Hyperdub, and he has an EP, We On 1, scheduled to come out on vinyl on April 28th via Southern Belle Recordings.

The death comes in the wake of the recent loss of fellow Chicago house pioneer Frankie Knuckles, who passed away on March 31st.

Watch: DJ Rashad – Pitchfork Music Festival 2013

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