Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider has died aged 73.
No cause of death has been given, but French website Ouest France states that Schneider’s family has confirmed the news.
Billboard reports that Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hütter has also confirmed the news, providing the following statement about “the very sad news that his friend and companion over many decades Florian Schneider has passed away from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday.”
Forming the German band with Hutter in 1970, Schneider is credited as one of the pioneers of electronic music.
The musician, who played the synthesiser, flute, vocoder, saxophone and more, remained in the band until 2008, when he left the group ahead of their world tour, not giving a reason for his departure.
Schneider was honoured on David Bowie‘s ‘Heroes’ album from 1977, in which he was name-checked during the instrumental track ‘V-2 Schneider’.
Tributes are being paid to Schneider on social media following the news of his death. OMD called the musician “one of our heroes,” while Midge Ure labelled him “way ahead of his time”.
We are absolutely devastated to learn that one of our heroes Florian Schneider has passed away. pic.twitter.com/Y2dnYfxkj8
— Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (@OfficialOMD) May 6, 2020
Way ahead of his time. https://t.co/sbfeVEpSeZ
— midge ure (@midgeure1) May 6, 2020
Labels Defected and Ninja Tune have also joined in paying tribute to the late musician, with Defective calling him “extraordinary,” adding that Schneider was “a true innovator and pioneer of electronic music, whose music and influence will live on forever”.
R.I.P to the extraordinary Florian Schneider of @kraftwerk.
A true innovator and pioneer of electronic music, whose music and influence will live on forever. pic.twitter.com/Fw0yu4lx9q
— Defected Records (@DefectedRecords) May 6, 2020
RIP Florian Schneider. You changed music forever.https://t.co/mZUR33cbqr
— Ninja Tune (@ninjatune) May 6, 2020
Kraftwerk were set to be heading out on a 50th anniversary world tour this year, including a London headline show as part of All Points East festival.
The London festival show has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the other dates look under threat as well.