Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker dies

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Walter Becker, the guitarist who co-founded the popular 1970s band Steely Dan, has died. He was 67.

The announcement was made on Becker’s personal website, which on Sunday displayed two photographs of the musician and a short digital epitaph: “feb. 20 1950 — sept. 03 2017.”

The cause of death was not immediately known. A representative for Becker could not be reached for comment.

Becker co-founded Steely Dan in 1972 alongside lead singer Donald Fagen. Becker played bass and guitar for the duo, who received widespread acclaim and commercial success.

They were known for their unique, jazz-rock sound, and produced several hits including “Do It Again,” “Reeling’ in the Years” and “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.”

The band dissolved in 1981 but later reunited and released two new albums.

Fagen — a longtime collaborator and friend — wrote a tribute to Becker on Sunday that was reported by Rolling Stone.

While Fagen said that Becker had a “very rough childhood,” he described his friend as “smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter.”

“He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny,” Fagen wrote, according to Rolling Stone. “Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidden psychology and transforming
what he saw into bubbly, incisive art.”

Mark Ronson, the English songwriter and producer, expressed his admiration for Becker in a tweet Sunday.

The Grammy-winning musician called Becker “one half of the team i aspire to everytime I sit down at a piano.”

Canadian musician A.C. Newman also tweeted condolences for Becker.

“RIP Walter Becker,” he said, adding that Becker is “half of one of the greatest and most original bands in rock history.”

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