Frankie Knuckles, known as the ‘Godfather of House Music,” has died at the age of 59 on Monday, according to multiple sources including Rolling Stone on Tuesday morning. Frankie Knuckles was born in the Bronx, New York where he began his DJ career – but made his mark in the late 1970s when he relocated to Chicago dance clubs – most notably the Warehouse which inspired the name of “House Music.” He also became a record producer and remixer.
While disco was in its “Saturday Night Fever” heyday, Knuckles – whose real name was Francis Nichollls - was playing the recorded dance music by the day’s rebels off of independent record labels. He shunned traditional disco dance music and remixed songs that were more of the R&B genre. His after-hours dance setting became well-known and popular.
Reportedly, every disc jockey in Chicago was looking up to Knuckles for his innovative work from the late 1970s on. He worked with such recording artists as Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.
Knuckles was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his achievements in 2005. He also had a street in Chicago named after him in 2004.
After “House Music” waned in popularity, he was still in demand to DU at clubs and fests. Knuckles died at his home from complications due to Type II diabetes.