Kraftwerk Co-Founder Florian Schneider 1947 – 2020

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Co-founding Kraftwerk member Florian Schneider died from cancer at age 73. Billboard first reported the news which was confirmed by a statement sent by the band.

The statement from Kraftwerk noted, “co-founder and electro pioneer Ralf Hütter has sent us the very sad news that his friend and companion over many decades Florian Schneider has passed away from a short cancer disease just a few days after his 73rd birthday.” Florian Schneider was a member of Kraftwerk through 2008 and last performed live with the band in 2006. The Guardian reported Schneider passed away last week and had a private burial.

Hütter and Schneider formed Kraftwerk in 1970 after meeting as students a few years earlier. Kraftwerk released a self-titled debut studio album in 1970 and Kraftwerk 2 in 1972. The lineup was based around Florian and Ralf but changed frequently over the past five decades especially during their early years. The German electronic act gained international acclaim for their innovative use of technology including early synthesizers as well as their stylish and ahead-of-their-time live performances. Autobahn, a studio album released in 1974, was a big hit in America reaching #5 on the Billboard charts. One year later, Kraftwerk embarked on their first tours of North America and the U.K.

Florian Schneider occasionally sang and utilized a variety of instruments during his tenure in Kraftwerk including vocoder, synthesizer, flute, sax and custom-built equipment. He participated in the recording of 10 Kraftwerk albums and was honored by David Bowie with the track “V-2 Schneider” on the Thin White Duke’s 1977 LP Heroes. Schneider performed with Kraftwerk at a series of 2006 festival appearances but was not on hand for a run of U.S. dates in the spring of 2008 when the band next returned to the road. Kraftwerk officially announced Florian’s departure via a statement posted on their website months after the shows.