The house legend was found dead at his home today. He was 59.
Today 5 Magazine reported that the storied Chicago house pioneer was found dead at his house on March 31st. There has been no official word from Knuckles' family, but the reports supposedly come from "people close to him." Fellow Chicago DJs David Morales and Deeon have corroborated the news, and now NBC's local Chicago affiliate has confirmed the death, adding that an official statement is expected sometime on Tuesday.
Frankie Warren Knuckles, Jr. was born in The Bronx in 1955. He got his start as a DJ playing soul and disco at The Continental Baths in New York with Larry Levan. In 1977, he moved to Chicago, where he became a regular at The Warehouse (the club that gave birth to the term "house") before setting up his own spot, The Power Plant. Meanwhile, Knuckles began a production career that would help change the face of dance music forever, cutting seminal records like "Your Love" and "Baby Wants To Ride" (both with Jamie Principle) and "Tears" (with Robert Owens and Satoshi Tomiie). Knuckles stayed active as a gigging DJ until the end. "He's been involved with dance music for almost four decades," Stephen Titmus wrote in an RA interview with him last October, "but it doesn't seem like Frankie Knuckles is stopping any time soon."
Somewhere along the way, people started referring to Knuckles as "the godfather of house." His influence on electronic music is immeasurable, and his death represents a huge loss for dance music. Our thoughts are with his family and his friends.