By Leah Greenblatt
April 01, 2014 at 12:35 PM EDT
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Frankie Knuckles, one of dance music’s most formative stars, has died of undisclosed causes. He was 59.

The Bronx-born Francis Nicholls went from a kid riding into the city to hit after-hours spots like Sanctuary and the Loft in the early days of disco to presiding over the Warehouse, the legendary Chicago club that birthed house music (the genre literally got its title from a diminutive of the club’s name).

Knuckles went on to become a prolific DJ, producer, and remixer (for the likes of Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and Toni Braxton), and held now-iconic residencies at clubs including his own Chicago spot Power Plant, London’s The World, and New York City’s Sound Factory. In 2004, Chicago named a street near the old Warehouse location Frankie Knuckles Way, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.

Knuckles suffered from Type II Diabetes, which may have contributed to his death.