DJ Frankie Knuckles plays at the Def Mix 20th Anniversary Weekender at Turnmills nightclub in London May 6, 2007.
Claire Greenway/Getty Images

The legendary Frankie Knuckles, the “godfather of house music,” passed away last month at the age of 59. It was confirmed by Knuckles’ longtime business partner, Frederick Dunson, that he died unexpectedly of complications related to diabetes.

The Grammy Award-winning producer and DJ was a house-music pioneer, and his death touched everyone in the music community, and even the White House.

Before taking his place in the White House, Barack Obama, as an Illinois senator in 2004, officially declared Aug. 24 “Frankie Knuckles Day.” The Obamas are still celebrating Knuckles’ life and labeled him a trailblazer in a recently released condolence letter.

David Morales, Knuckles’ former recording partner, shared the letter from the Obamas on his Facebook page. The Obamas wrote that “his legacy lives on in the city of Chicago and on dance floors across the globe.”

The full letter is below:

Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.


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