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Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider dead at 73

Florian Schneider, whose contribution to electronic music and music as a whole cannot be understated, has passed away at 73 years old. Sony Berlin confirmed the news, sharing that cancer was the cause of death.

Schneider was a founding member of Kraftwerk alongside Ralf Hütter, one of the earliest popular electronic music groups. From 1970 through to the mid-2000s he would work on every album released by the group, including AutobahnTrans-Europe Express, and The Man-Machine, all of which are still noted as blueprints for dance music, techno, and pop that would follow in the subsequent decades.

Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider dead at 73

Co-founder of pioneering group Kraftwerk, Florian Schneider, has died of cancer at the age of 73. The news was confirmed by Sony Berlin this morning.

A rarely interviewed and somewhat enigmatic figure – no doubt bolstered by his regular appearance as a robot or doll – Schneider would quietly but efficiently steered Kraftwerk towards new and experimental musical realms. The band’s early use of synthesisers, vocoders, and self-made drum machines left an impression that was undoubtedly picked up by a number of forthcoming acts including Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, Aphex Twin, and many more.

David Bowie was an outspoken fan of Kraftwerk and Schneider in particular, naming his 1977 Berlin-era track V-2 Schneider after the musician.

Schneider left Kraftwerk some time before their 2008 world tour for undisclosed reasons, many believing it was in lieu of a potential solo project. In retrospect, his health may have been the motivating factor.

With or without Schneider, the music of Kraftwerk will undoubtedly chug along for many more years to come. As private as he may have been, he leaves behind a legacy few can match.