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Frankie Knuckles, 'godfather of house,' dead at 59

Rumors from Chicago were quickly confirmed late last night that house music legend Frankie Knuckles had died. Word of Knuckles' passing was first reported via Twitter by house music magazine 5 Magazine after receiving news of his death from Chicago promoter and Knuckles' friend Robert Williams. Chicago's NBC 5 reported shortly thereafter that "[a] Chicago DJ and producer known as 'The Godfather of House Music' passed away Monday, sources tell NBC 5."

Frankie Knuckles
Frankie Knuckles

Born Frank Nicholls in New York City, Knuckles moved to Chicago in the late 1970s. He became a resident DJ of a black gay club in Northern Chicago called The Warehouse which is now considered the birthplace of "modern house music." The club's name itself was the genesis of term house music. Knuckles worked at The Warehouse until 1983 when he left to open his own club the Powerplant. The house music genre took off and began to spread as far away as the UK where Knuckles spent several months DJing.

Knuckles remained active as both a producer and remixer until his death which also included occasional DJ residencies. In 1997, he received a Grammy Award for Remixer of the Year (non classical). Knuckles released his third and final artist album in 2004 called "A New Reality" comprised of 13 original track. During that same year the City of Chicago named August 25 Frankie Knuckles Day and renamed a portion of the street near the original site of The Warehouse as Frankie Knuckles Way. In 2005, Knuckles was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.

Knuckles is believed to have died from complications related to diabetes. This has not be officially confirmed.


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