Frankie Knuckles, Godfather of House Music, dead at 59

Mon. March 31, 2014 10:38 PM by News Staff

frankie knuckles

Chicago, IL - Legendary DJ, record producer and remixer Frankie Knuckles, known globally as the Godfather of House Music, has passed away at the age of 59. 

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. (CST) on Monday, March 31, Chicago-based 5 Magazine shared news of Knuckles' passing. Publisher Czarina Mirani told that she received confirmation from people close to the legendary DJ. later received independent confirmation.

Rumored to be ill, Knuckles missed his 59th birthday celebration this past January in Chicago. 

Frankie Knuckles died unexpectedly at his home in Chicago on March 31. 

"We pay sincere respects to everyone that knew and was touched by Frankie Knuckles' music in their life. I don't exaggerate when I say that millions spent time on this man's dancefloor," wrote 5 Magazine editor Terry Matthew. 

"We're all saddened by this tragic loss," Hydrate Nightclub general manager Sean Kotwa told "Not just as a close friend of Hydrate, but such an iconic and influential house music icon."

The out gay DJ held a residency at the Boystown club in 2004. 

The nature of Knuckles' death is unknown, but he had Type II Diabetes, having developed the disease during the mid-2000s. 

Update: Frankie Knuckles memorial service April 21 

A celebration of life for Frankie Knuckles will be Monday, April 21, 6-9 p.m. at Progressive Baptist Church, 3658 S. Wentworth Ave., Chicago.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to either in the memory of Frankie to: American Diabetes Association ( or Gay Men Health Crisis of NYC (

The Godfather of House Music: Frankie Knuckles

Born in New York City in 1955, Knuckles later moved to Chicago where he played an important role in developing and popularizing house music in the 1980s. The term "house" describes the style of music played at the Warehouse Nightclub at 206 South Jefferson in Chicago, where Knuckles was a resident DJ. 

In 1983, Knuckles moved from the Warehouse to his own club, the Power Plant. 

The City of Chicago renamed a stretch of Jefferson Street near the site of the old Warehouse "The Godfather of House Music" Frankie Knuckles Way in 2004.

That same year, Knuckles was honored by the Illinois legislature, through the efforts of then state Sen. Barack Obama and state Rep. Kenneth Dunkin, with a resolution commemorating the DJ and producer for his 30 years of achievements in the music industry.

Knuckles, a Grammy Award winner in 1998, was inducted into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996 and into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

In addition to remixing artists such as Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, and Diana Ross, Knuckles released a series of original productions, including a 1987's "Your Love" and 1991's "The Whistle Song".  

The music world pays tribute to Frankie Knuckles