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Florian Schneider of the German electronic band Kraftwerk has died, Billboard has confirmed. He was 73.
Schneider formed the influential group and multimedia project with Ralf Hutter in 1970. Kraftwerk — with its use of electronic instruments that included homemade and custom-built devices — has been widely credited with pioneering electronic music and influencing various genres across the musical spectrum, including hip-hop, synthpop and rock, with its soundscapes, experimentation and technical innovations.
The late David Bowie also recognized Schneider’s influence on his own art. On Bowie’s 1977 album Heroes, the iconic artist titled his mostly instrumental track “V-2 Schneider” after the musician.
Schneider — who played the synthesizer, vocoder, flute, sax and more, as well as provided vocals — left the band in 2008 after four decades. During his time with the group, Kraftwerk released 10 studio albums, including 1974’s acclaimed Autobahn, which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in 1975. The band also won the best dance/electronic album Grammy in 2017 for 3-D The Catalogue, and was honored with the lifetime achievement award in 2014.
Though nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame six times, Kraftwerk has yet to be inducted.
Prior to his death, Kraftwerk had announced that the band would be embarking on a summer tour of North America to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary. The shows were set to feature the 3D visuals the band is known for, melding music and robotics. The celebratory shows were canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
This story was originally published on Billboard.com.
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