Florian Schneider of German electronic band Kraftwerk has died.
In a statement, Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hütter confirms the
“Very sad news that his friend and companion over many decades Florian Schneider has passed away from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday.”
Schneider formed the influential group Kraftwerk and multimedia project with Hütter in 1970 and with its use of electronic instruments that included homemade and custom-built devices is widely credited with pioneering electronic music.
The late David Bowie ’77 album Heroes titled his mostly instrumental track V-2 Schneider after the musician.
According to Billboard,
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, seven of which charted on the Billboard 200, including 1974’s acclaimed Autobahn, which peaked at No. 5. The record’s title track — inspired by the German highway system — reached No. 25 in 1975 on the Billboard 100. In keeping with the band’s themes of transportation and technology, title track Trans-Europe Express — off the group’s sixth album and inspired by the Trans-Europe Express rail system, reached No. 67 in 1978.
Though nominated for the Rock Hall of Fame six times, the influential electronic band 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 3-D visuals the band is known for, melding music and robotics. The celebratory shows were canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Florian Schneider was 73.