Frankie Knuckles, a Grammy-winning Chicago disc jockey known as the “Godfather of House Music” who worked with artists including Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, has died at age 59.
Knuckles died Monday in Chicago, the Cook County medical examiner said Tuesday. The medical examiner said a cause of death was not available.
Knuckles is considered a key figure in the evolution of the house music genre, dating back three decades to venues in Chicago and New York.
“When you’re as fortunate as most of us working DJs to be able to share our creative blessings with the rest of the world, no matter how great or small, wouldn’t you agree that it’s best to give the world the best of who you are?” Knuckles said, in a quote provided Tuesday in a release from his company, Def Mix Productions.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that Chicago has lost “one of its most treasured cultural pioneers.”
Knuckles was born Francis Nicholls on Jan. 18, 1955, in the Bronx. He worked as a DJ in the early 1970s in New York before moving to Chicago in the late 1970s. In Chicago he was resident DJ at the city’s The Warehouse club until it closed in 1983.