House music icon Frankie Knuckles died Monday afternoon at age 59.
Lauded as the "Godfather of House Music," many attribute the birth of house music to Knuckles himself. The DJ, producer, and remixer had a prolific influence on electronic dance music culture, and fostered the genre in early 80s Chicago at his clubs the Warehouse and Power Plant.
Knuckles was well known for his marathon live sets, and also recorded a series of dance classics. He collaborated with Jamie Principle on the songs "Your Love" and "Baby Wants to Ride," worked on the song "Tears" with Satoshi Tomiiee and Robert Owens, and remixed versions of Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody," Sounds of Blackness's "The Pressure," and Hercules and Love Affair's "Blind."
The producer was born Francis Nicholls on January 18, 1955, and grew up in the Bronx, New York. He explored city clubs as a teenager, and had become a DJ himself by the mid-70s. Knuckles opened his first club, the Warehouse, in Chicago in 1977. The city was very DJ-friendly, and local radio shows helped his popularity to soar.
Knuckles took up residency at a series of clubs, including the World, the Roxy and the Sound Factory, upon his return to New York in 1988. He continued to DJ throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and most recently travelled and performed from club-to-club in the international circuit.
The DJ began to suffer health problems in recent years, and the cause of his death is currently unknown.