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A Chicago DJ and producer known as "The Godfather of House Music" passed away Monday, sources tell NBC 5.
Frankie Knuckles, 59, still lived in Chicago and is widely credited with helping to define the post-disco sound that came to be known as house music.
It's not clear how Knuckles died, but a statement is expected to be released on Tuesday.
Knuckles was born in New York City but later moved to Chicago, where he made his musical mark.
He was the musical director of pioneering South Loop nightclub The Warehouse, believed to the birthplace of modern house music, and where Knuckles first started experimenting with mixing disco and European electronic tracks. It's also where the house music genre got its name.
Jefferson Street between Monroe and Van Buren was renamed honorary "The Godfather of House Music" Frankie Knuckles Way in 2004.
Like many house DJs, Knuckles' influence was just as big in Europe as it was on his native soil. On Saturday, he was a featured performer at London�s Ministry Of Sound club.
Chicago house music DJ Derrick Carter, who has his own international following, first met Knuckles in the 1980s when he was a teenager managing a downtown record store. The two recently shared a DJ residency at Smartbar in the Lakeview neighborhood.
"It's a dark day ... I'm in an emotional limbo where I don't quite know how to process this," Carter told NBC 5. "He was always just a decent guy, always had nice bits of advice to give. As a kid who grew up in the suburbs, I was a bit star struck, but at no time in our relationship did he ever big-time me like that."
Carter says Knuckles not only pioneered an important genre of music, he led the way for other DJs, showing them that they could actually make a living spinning records and mixing music.
Several local and international DJs were sharing their memories via Twitter Monday night, including The Roots drummer Questlove who tweeted, "Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. he was the dj that dj's aspired to be. true dance pioneer."