The Irish "pied piper" helped bring folk music to the forefront of the world.

Paddy Moloney, the founder of the popular Irish folk band the Chieftains, has died at 83. No cause of death was given.

His death was announced by the Irish Traditional Music Archive. "Paddy made an enormous contribution to Irish traditional music, song and dance," the ITMA wrote in a tribute on their website. "Few people can lay claim to having the level of impact Paddy Moloney had on the vibrancy of traditional music anywhere in the world."

Moloney founded the Chieftains in 1962 alongside Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy, playing the uilleann pipes and bodhrán. As a member of the group for more than 60 years, he contributed heavily to the Irish folk music scene, leading the Cheiftans around the world and bringing traditional Irish music to the forefront of culture by way of six Grammy Awards and collaborations with artists such as Mick Jagger, Luciano Pavarotti, Roger Daltrey, and Emmylou Harris. The Chieftains also collaborated on film soundtracks such as Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon and Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.

Paddy Moloney
Paddy Moloney in 2012
| Credit: Steve Thorne/Redferns via Getty Images

Outside of performing, Moloney also worked as a producer and managing director for the label Claddagh Records.

Born and raised in Dublin, Moloney's journey into Irish music began early when he taught himself how to play music via a plastic tin whistle at age 6. By 8 he learned the uilleann pipes, which he would help popularize in Ireland and around the world.

"Once you get over the mechanics of it, you can really get into improvisation and you can start to see the music and out it comes," Moloney told NPR in a 2002 interview of his introduction to the instrument that would become a touchstone of his career.

Paddy Moloney
Paddy Moloney in 1973
| Credit: Susan Wood/Getty Images

"Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, notably the uileann pipes and bodhrán, was at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally," Irish President Michael D. Higgins wrote in a statement. "His work as a producer was a contribution of great integrity, undertaken to promote the music itself at a time when the commercial benefits of doing so were limited. His legacy will remain with us in the music which he created and brought to the world."

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