So sad. One of the most influential DJs in history — the ‘godfather’ of house music — died unexpectedly in his home in Chicago on March 31. Frankie was just 59 years old.
It’s a sad day in Chicago and the music community as Frankie Knuckles, known as the “godfather” of house music, died from unknown causes in his home in Chicago, Ill. on March 31. The world has lost a true legend, because while it’s hard to say who invented rock ‘n’ roll or jazz, Frankie is definitively the founder of house music, which is now a massive music movement.
Frankie Knuckles: House Music Founder Dies At 59
Frankie’s death was confirmed by his longtime business partner, Frederick Dunson, who said that Frankie died “unexpectedly in his home” and that more details would be released in the coming days, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The club DJ became a true tastemaker in the late ’70s and ’80s, creating a new sound at his clubs the Warehouse and Power Plant that no one had heard before — a mix of his own extended edits of disco, post-punk, R&B and synth-heavy Eurodisco. All of it came together during Frankie’s marathon DJ sets to lay the groundwork for electronic dance music culture. The DJ is partially responsible for ushering in a new era of music following the fall of disco.
Frankie would go on to mix records by major artists like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Depeche Mode, as well as discover and create hits with Chicago artist Jamie Principle. His most recent dance classic came in 2008, a track called “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair.
Before he died, Frankie was hitting the global club and festival circuit, where he was converting a whole new generation to the house movement. It’s so sad to see him go, but he’ll live on through his music. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.
— Andrew Gruttadaro