EDM music continues to grow as a force in both music and the music industry, and one of its biggest influences passed away Monday evening. Frankie Knuckles, a Chicago DJ acknowledged as the "Godfather of House Music," died unexpectedly at the age of 59, according to The Chicago Tribune. The performer's business partner Frederick Dunson reported that more details would be released Tuesday evening. No foul play is suspected.
Knuckles was born in The Bronx and sharpened his teeth as a DJ in New York City before moving to Chicago. He arrived Illinois near the death of the disco era, and he and a number of other club DJ's moved to fill the dance gap in between. The sound was far from the hits being produced today by stars such as Avicii and David Guetta, but the Chicago movement laid the ground level for both modern house and the burgeoning European rave movement of the day.
Knuckles would create mixes of R&B and soul records, introduce singles from other new house artists, and add drum machines to his warehouse performances in order to draw the crowd onto the dance floor. Alas, his early role in the genre meant that he never got the same celebrity status that current EDM stars are subject to.
"I wasn't frustrated by that, not at all," he said. "I'm not the kind of person that lives for fame and glory. If I've got a nice, clean home and can put a meal on my table and can entertain my friends, I'm fine. I don't need to see my face plastered everywhere."
The city of Chicago named a street after Knuckles in 2004, at the location where the popular Warehouse nightclub formerly stood.