Florian Schneider, co-founder and keyboardist of seminal German electro group Kraftwerk, has died aged 73.
His death was confirmed by record label Sony.
Schneider co-founded Kraftwerk alongside fellow German Ralf Hutter in 1970 after meeting as students in Dusseldorf.
The band’s pioneering use of drum machines and synthesizers influenced countless musicians who came after them.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Kraftwerk said Schneider had died after a “short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday”.
Born in Ohningen in southwest Germany, Schneider’s original instrument was the flute and he began working with Hutter in 1968 after they met as students in Dusseldorf.
Kraftwerk started their electronic odyssey two years later when the two men founded the Kling Klang studio.
Schneider was involved in albums including Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans-Europe Express, The Man-Machine and Tour de France.
He left the group in 2008 and Kraftwerk went on to win a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2016.
Hutter and bandmates Fritz Hilpert, Henning Schmitz and Falk Grieffenhagen continue to take their famous live blend of music and visuals around the world
Before the coronavirus pandemic they were scheduled for a 50th anniversary tour of North America.
Tributes have been paid by the likes of The Human League and Heaven 17 founder Martyn Ware, who tweeted that his bands “would never have existed without Florian Schneider and Kraftwerk”.
Spandau Ballet singer Gary Kemp wrote: “Such an important influence upon so much of the music we know, from Bowie, to electronica, much of the 80s and beyond into modern techno and rap, Florian Schneider was forging a new Metropolis of music for us all to live in.”
French electro pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre referenced Kraftwerk’s famous 1974 album when he posted: “My dear Florian Your Autobahn will never end.. Le Tour de France ne sera plus jamais le meme..”
Meanwhile, Scottish musician Edwyn Collins said of Schneider: “He’s God – fact.”