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'Godfather of house music' Frankie Knuckles dies

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
Click through to see<a href='http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/world/obituaries-2014'> people who passed away</a> in 2014. Click through to see people who passed away in 2014.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Knuckles combined "disco, electronic sound, soul and synth into a new genre"
  • He worked as a remixer with Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross
  • Knuckles won a Grammy in 1997 as nonclassical remixer of the year
  • Chicago's mayor calls him one of that city's "most treasured cultural pioneers"

(CNN) -- DJ Frankie Knuckles, who died Monday at 59, is remembered as a legendary producer, remixer and house music pioneer.

The Grammy-winning Knuckles combined "elements of disco, electronic sound, soul and synth into a new genre earned him the title 'Godfather of House Music,'" Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said.

"His electrifying remixes and high-energy performances on the turntables packed clubs for decades, and he inspired a generation of DJs, bringing house music to the mainstream," Portnow said.

Knuckles worked as a remixer with top artists including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. He won a Grammy in 1997 as nonclassical remixer of the year.

The mayor of his adopted hometown, Chicago, said Knuckles was one of the city's "most treasured cultural pioneers."

"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," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "In doing so, he also made his way into the hearts of those who knew him and the many more who followed his work."

A section of Chicago's Jefferson Street is officially known as Frankie Knuckles Way.

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CNN's Joan Yeam contributed to this report.

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