Frankie Knuckles, the legendary DJ, producer and mixer known as “The Godfather of House Music,” died Monday of complications from diabetes. He was 59.
Born Francis Nicholls in the Bronx in 1955, Knuckles made a name for himself in the Chicago house scene, where he DJed at the iconic club Warehouse in the 1970s before opening up his own club, The Power Plant, in 1983.
Knuckles was also known for starting Def Mix Productions with noted house DJ and producer David Morales. Among the most successful remixes made by Knuckles are Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” and Lisa Stansfield’s “Change.”
Knuckles was a major force in getting Chicago house music recognized across the globe. Tributes to Knuckles poured in over social media, including Chicago-based house music producer Vince Lawerence, DJ Paul van Dyk and Questlove Jenkins of The Roots.
“A legend has fallen. All hail Frankie Knuckles an inspiration to us all,” Lawrence wrote on his Facebook page.
Jenkins wrote on his Twitter account, “jesus man. Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. he was the dj that dj's aspired to be. true dance pioneer. … jesus, 30 years ago on April Fools Marvin was taken away & i didn't believe it...now this horrible news. #RIPFrankieKnuckles.”
House music fans around the world also mourned the loss of Knuckles. “FrankieKnuckles” was trending Tuesday on Twitter in response to the news of Knuckles’ death. Aside from condolences, Twitter users also shared some of Knuckles’ music on the social media site.
RIP Frankie Knuckles. Here's a recording of the Godfather of House mixing live at Sound Factory in 1990: http://t.co/4p0q3NFQ2F
â€” Nasty Pig Inc. (@nastypig) April 1, 2014
R.I.P Frankie Knuckles. A true pioneer of house music. Without you we would all be dancing to a different beat today. pic.twitter.com/f2w03YVaaK
â€” Nicole Moudaber (@NicoleMoudaber) April 1, 2014
RIP Frankie Knuckles, a legendary figure and pioneer of the house music revolution and without whom we wouldn’t exist pic.twitter.com/TIgwqubDqv
â€” Ministry of Sound (@ministryofsound) April 1, 2014
Another good man dies relatively young , very sad news . RIP Frankie Knuckles and thank you for House music .
â€” Jody Wisternoff (@jodywisternoff) April 1, 2014
A true legend and pioneer of house music has passed away.. RIP Frankie Knuckles
â€” Paul van Dyk (@PAULVANDYK) April 1, 2014