Frankie Knuckles, a member of the Dance Music Hall of Fame and known in the dance world as the ‘Godfather of House Music’ for his early involvement in the creation and popularisation of the original Chicago house music style, has reportedly passed away in Chicago at 59 years of age.
According to Complex, local Chicago house music outlet 5 Magazine first broke the news of Knuckles’ passing, with corroboration later offered by several DJs and friends of the dance icon, including David Morales, Paul Johnson, and DJ Deeon, who took to social media to leave tributes.
Details at the moment are scant and there is currently no official confirmation from local police or news sources, but according to 5 Magazine, they “received word this evening from people close to” Knuckles about his passing. The official website of the local dance music outlet is currently down.
Knuckles was born in the Bronx in 1955 and became a disco DJ in the early 1970s, spinning with childhood friend and fellow house icon Larry Levan at the Continental Baths. In 1977, Knuckles moved to Chicago to become the resident DJ at the Warehouse, the future birthplace of house.
Knuckles became renowned for his smooth and classy mixing style and for his ability to seek out the best underground tracks. The music Knuckles would spin at the Warehouse eventually came to be called “house music” by Warehouse regulars, local record shop owners, and record-hunters.
In addition to being one of the most prominent progenitors of the genre, Knuckles also had a hand in the release of some of the genre’s most iconic and enduring anthems, including his collaboration with Jamie Principle, Your Love, which was sampled in the 2009 Animal Collective song My Girls.
Listen: Frankie Knuckles & Jamie Principle – Your Love
I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away today. Can't write anymore than this at the moment. I'm sorry.
— David Morales (@DJDavidMorales) April 1, 2014