The world has lost a magnificent music pioneer. Called the “Godfather of House Music,” Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles has died. The Grammy-winning producer died while asleep at his Chicago home Monday.
Knuckles is widely known as the producer who put the sound of house music on the map.
Sources tell NBC 5 that Knuckles died in his sleep at his home and was discovered by his manager. It remains unclear how he died, but friends say he had recently been sick, and suffers from diabetes.
Knuckles, who was born in New York City but later moved to Chicago, was the musical director of pioneering South Loop nightclub The Warehouse, believed to be the birthplace of modern house music. It was there that the DJ began to mix disco and European electronic tracks. It’s also where the house music genre got its name.
Illinois State Rep. Ken Dunkin says Knuckles was also an key figure in the African-American LGBT community.
“You had a number of black gay men and women who couldn’t come out in their own neighborhoods, in their own families,” says Dunkin. “Frankie Knuckles originally provided the venue and the space for them to meet and gather and have fun.”
Knuckles won a 1997 Grammy for Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical.