Frankie Knuckles DJ and house music pioneer, died Monday. He was 59.
The “godfather,” a Chicago resident, “died unexpectedly” at home, his longtime business partner Frederick Dunson confirmed to the Chicago Tribune.
Bronx-born Frankie Warren Knuckles Jr. (yup, his real name) honed his DJ skills in NYC, moving to Chicago in the late ’70s as the disco scene was dying.
Along with a group of house music innovators, the young Knuckles went on to become a cult hero overseas in Europe’s rave-oriented club scene.
Also a producer, Knuckles went on to work with some of music’s biggest stars, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Depeche Mode, and Diana Ross.
Morales, along with Knuckles’ successors, mourned his passing Monday.
“I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away today,” he wrote. “Can’t write anymore than this at the moment. I’m sorry.”
Chicago DJ Vince Lawrence wrote on his Facebook page, in memoriam:
“A legend has fallen. All hail Frankie Knuckles an inspiration to us all.”
Knuckles once told the Tribune in an interview why he championed house music. He felt as if the dance floor was a “safe haven” for all communities.
“God has a place on the dance floor,” he said. “We wouldn’t have all the things we have if it wasn’t for God. We wouldn’t have the one thing that keeps us sane … music.”
“It’s the one thing that calms people down.”