DJ Frankie Knuckles, one of the world’s most famous DJ’s and the man widely regarded as the ‘Godfather of House’, died this week at the age of 59 due to diabetes complications.
His long-time business partner, Frederick Dunso, confirmed the sad news on Monday, stating that he died unexpectedly at his home in Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the award-winning DJ’s death was due to complications related to type 2 diabetes a condition which he developed during the mid-2000s. At the time, Knuckles already suffered from the bone disease osteomyelitis after breaking several metatarsals in his right foot while snowboarding in Switzerland.
His foot condition steadily worsened as a result of high blood sugar levels. He continued to DJ against his doctors orders, but in 2008 he was faced with the worst case scenario. He was told his foot could not be saved, and in July that year he had his foot amputated.
Speaking to the Guardian in 2011, Knuckles said: “When I saw it was gone I had a good cry, but when I woke up the next morning I felt 1,000% better. I didn’t realise how much pain I’d been in until it was gone. It was like all of a sudden the sun came out.”
Born in the Bronx, New York, in 1955, Knuckles started his career as a DJ in the early 1970s. His popular style of music, played at The Warehouse nightclub in Chicago, is widely attributed to the birth of the term “house” music.
During his career, he worked with the likes of Michael Jackso, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Madonna, Whitney Houston and Toni Braxto, and in 1997 was awarded the Grammy for ‘Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical’.
Diabetes is one the leading causes of amputation of the lower limbs, with health statistics showing approximately 6,000 diabetes-related amputations are carried out each year.
The vast majority of these amputations, however, can be prevented through regular foot checks and early treatment of damage to the skin, joints and/or bones of the feet.

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