Steely Dan co-founder, guitarist, Walter Becker dies at 67


A performance by Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers, originally scheduled for Sunday at the Majestic Theatre, has been cancelled after news hit that Steely Dan guitarist and co-founding member, Walter Becker, had died Sunday.

Fagen and Becker split the band after 1980's Gaucho LP, reforming 20 years later to make the Grammy-winning Two Against Nature. However, the cause of death was not ascertained.

Becker had been suffering from an undisclosed illness.

Becker in July missed The Classic East and The Classic West - twin festivals in Los Angeles and NY featuring rock veterans including Steely Dan - with his bandmate Donald Fagen saying Becker was recovering from an unspecified ailment.

In a statement on Twitter, Donald Fagen has said of his late bandmate, "he was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter". "He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically amusing", Fagan said in the statement published by Entertainment Weekly.

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Guitarist Larry Carlton, who played on four of Steely Dan's classic albums, called him a musical icon.

Becker and Fagen reunited as Steely Dan in 1993 and became a steady touring band.

Becker and Fagen co-founded Steely Dan in 1972.

With a group of skilled studio musicians, including drummer Jim Keltner and jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, Steely Dan released "Aja" (1977), which sold more than 5 million copies. Kanye West's 2007 single "Champion" samples Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" and artists like Ice Cube, MF DOOM and De La Soul, among others, have also sampled the band's music.

"He used to write letters (never meant to be sent) in my wife Libby's singular voice that made the three of us collapse with laughter". "Given the nature of these times, this may be precisely the quality that makes Walter Becker and Donald Fagen the flawless musical antiheroes for the Seventies".