Walter Becker, the co-founder and guitarist of the influential rock duo Steely Dan, died on Sunday at the age of 67. It is unclear what caused his death, which was announced on his website.
Becker had missed two recent Steely Dan performances, according to Billboard. At the time, the group’s lead vocalist and keyboardist Donald Fagen told Billboard Becker was “recovering from a procedure and hopefully he’ll be fine very soon.”
The duo first began collaborating while students at Bard College in upstate New York in the late 1960s. “We started writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room in the lobby of Ward Manor, a mouldering old mansion on the Hudson River that the college used as a dorm,” Fagen wrote in a statement in Rolling Stone.
Becker was born in 1950 and grew up in Queens, New York, where he began playing saxophone before switching to guitar as a teenager. On Sunday, Fagen wrote that Becker had “a very rough childhood” but grew up to be “smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter.”