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Lou Reed, one of the most influential figures of rock and roll, died Sunday at age 71. He was best known as the frontman for The Velvet Underground and for his solo work, including the song “Walk on the Wild Side.”
Back in May, the legendary singer-songwriter underwent a liver transplant, which was not made public until after the surgery in June. His death on Sunday was first reported by Rolling Stone and the cause of death was not announced.
However, the Associated Press tweeted word from his literary agent, confirming that he died of a liver-related illness.
"He was as great an artist as it’s possible to be, in my opinion," agent Andrew Wylie told the New York Times.
Reed, born in Brooklyn in 1942, grew up as a big fan of doo-wop and early rock and roll. In the mid 1960s, he helped form the Velvet Underground and when the group met Andy Warhol, their career took off. However, the road to success was slow, as their first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, was not an immediate hit in 1967. Today, it is widely considered one of the most influential albums of the period, in the same field as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Blonde On Blonde.
Their following releases also failed to become immediate hits, even though they are also beloved by fans. The group broke up in 1970, but Reed continued to record. One of his most remembered solo albums is 1972’s Transformer, which was produced by David Bowie. It also gave him his biggest hit, “Walk on the Wild Side.”
Reed had continued to record, even making 2011’s Lola with Metallica. He is survived by wife Laurie Anderson, a performance artist and songwriter.
image: Wikimedia Commons