They called him “Godfather of House.”
DJ Frankie Knuckles, born Francis Nicholls, died suddenly Monday when he was just 59, leaving fans and fellow DJs to mourn him and memorialize his founding role in house music.
Knuckles is associated with the Warehouse, a Chicago club where he played. The scene directly gave birth to the very term “house music.”
David Morales, the New York house DJ and producer, tweeted about the house pioneer.
“I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away today,” he said. “Can’t write anymore than this at the moment. I’m sorry.”
DJ Hector Romero, Knuckles’ house music peer and fellow Bronx native, posted on Facebook about the loss.
“My heart is heavy at this moment but I know he’s in a better place,” he wrote.
Questlove, from The Roots, tweeted that Knuckles was underappreciated, and “the dj that djs aspired to be.” Actor Idris Elba called him “an innovator.”
A photo of Knuckles with (then Sen.) Barack and Michelle Obama in 2004 has been circulating on Twitter. The Obamas were present when a city street, site of the Warehouse, was renamed for Knuckles.
“Over his long career Frankie made his way into the ranks of those artists and innovators who came to this city not just to contribute to a musical genre, but to create one themselves,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a statement. “In doing so, he also made his way into the hearts of those who knew him and the many more who followed his work.”
jesus man. Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. he was the dj that dj’s aspired to be. true dance pioneer.
— Questlove Jenkins (@questlove) April 1, 2014
My tribute to the Godfather of House, rest in peace Frankie Knuckles your music moved me, in many ways, from day one https://t.co/qwTR7pmOIQ
— Dimitri From Paris (@DimitriParis) April 1, 2014
RIP DJ Frankie Knuckles!
— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) April 1, 2014
frankie knuckles with the obamas
CHICAGO HOUSE TO THE WHITE HOUSE pic.twitter.com/nRPPqvGx00
— max read (@max_read) April 1, 2014
I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away today. Can’t write anymore than this at the moment. I’m sorry.
— David Morales (@DJDavidMorales) April 1, 2014
RIP Frankie Knuckles. The loss of an innovator.
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) April 1, 2014
— Sunnery James (@SunneryJames) April 1, 2014
Good Morning LOVERS, it’s a glorious day & the NYC sun is shining because one of our angels was called home, RIP LEEGENDARY Frankie Knuckles
— bevysmith (@bevysmith) April 1, 2014
RIP Frankie Knuckles. Respect.
— Swedish House Mafia (@swedishousemfia) April 1, 2014