The man credited with pioneering house music not only in Chicago but throughout the world has died.
Frankie Knuckles died unexpectedly on Monday afternoon at the age of 59, the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot reported Monday. His cause of death had not been officially disclosed as of Tuesday morning, though reports indicate the house music icon died of complications from type II diabetes.
Knuckles was born in the Bronx in New York City, where he first got his start as a DJ. He DJed alongside Larry Levan, a childhood friend, at Continental Baths beginning in 1972.
He moved to Chicago in the late ’70s and played regularly at the iconic Warehouse club from 1977 until 1982. The club initially catered to a “predominantly black, predominantly gay” crowd but others soon followed. In 1983, he began playing at his own club, the Power Plant in Chicago, until it closed in 1987.
His sets, Rolling Stone notes, were known for pulling from a wide array of musical genres and “laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture — all of it.”
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