Depeche Mode co-founder Andy Fletcher dies at 60
Andy Fletcher, a keyboardist and founding member of the English electronic band Depeche Mode, has died at 60.
The band announced Fletcher's death Thursday in a statement posted to social media. "We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member, and bandmate Andy 'Fletch' Fletcher," the statement said. "Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh, or a cold pint."
A cause of death was not provided. The statement concluded, "Our hearts are with his family, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time."
Per The Guardian, Fletcher was born in the U.K.'s Nottingham area in 1961, and formed the band Composition of Sound after moving to Basildon in the late 1970s with Martin Gore and Vince Clarke. When they added singer Dave Gahan to the ensemble, they changed their name to Depeche Mode. (Clarke would later leave the group, after their first album.)
Depeche Mode have since been nominated for five Grammys and sold more than 100 million records worldwide, with a whopping 54 songs charting on the U.K. singles chart and 17 top-10 albums in the U.K. The band and its members were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
Fletcher played on all of Depeche Mode's studio albums, and was often outspoken about his role in the group. He said in an interview with Electronic Beats that he was "the tall guy in the background, without whom this international corporation called Depeche Mode would never work."
He continued: "There is this big misunderstanding that in guitar bands real men are working real instruments — evening after evening — while in a synthesizer band like Depeche Mode nobody works, because it's all machines. But that's bulls---… Apart from the singer, the audience doesn't really know which role which musician has within the group. But bands like Kraftwerk or Depeche Mode actually work as divisions of labor collectives. The contribution of each individual remains invisible. And because I don't push myself to the fore, many mistake me for the fifth wheel."
Fletcher is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years, Gráinne Mullan, and two children.