GRAMMY-winning house music pioneer and former Recording Academy Trustee Frankie Knuckles died March 31 of causes reportedly related to type 2 diabetes. He was 59. Knuckles started his career as a DJ in New York in the early '70s. After relocating to Chicago in 1977, Knuckles opened his own club, the Power Plant, in 1983. He subsequently co-founded Def Mix Productions with GRAMMY-winning DJ David Morales and worked with artists including En Vogue, Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, and Diana Ross. In 1991 he released his debut album, Beyond The Mix, which peaked at No. 54 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart and featured hit dance singles such as "The Whistle Song," "Rain Falls" and "Workout." Knuckles earned a GRAMMY in 1997 for Remixer Of The Year, Non-Classical for his club mixes of songs by artists including Mary J. Blige and Toni Braxton, among others. Knuckles earned a GRAMMY nomination in the same category the following year. "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," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "We have lost a true visionary and a treasured talent."
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