Andy Fletcher, a founding member and keyboard player for Depeche Mode, has died. He was 60.
The news was announced on the British electronic band’s official Twitter account Thursday afternoon. Fletcher was found in his home office and appeared to have died from natural causes, a source familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly tells USA TODAY.
“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 reads. “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.
“Our hearts are with his family, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time.”
Depeche Mode released debut album “Speak & Spell” in 1981 and scored multiple hits on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart throughout the ’80s and ’90s, including “Enjoy the Silence,” “People Are People” and “Policy of Truth.”
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One of the trailblazing group’s defining hits, “Personal Jesus,” was ranked No. 368 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2004, and has memorably been covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Def Leppard.
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Fletcher was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 along with past and current Depeche Mode members Vince Clarke, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Alan Wilder.
The modest and self-deprecating musician often downplayed his role in Depeche Mode. In D.A. Pennebaker’s 1989 documentary about the group, “101,” he joked that while the others sing and write, “I bum around.”
“I’m a musician, but on the street, nobody will recognize me,” Fletcher later told German newspaper Die Welt in 2009. “Within the band, I contribute the element of pop. Martin L. Gore, who writes most of the songs, loves American blues and country. And Dave has discovered jazz for himself. I, however, will probably eternally feel loyal to the simple pop melodies and the lightness they stand for.”
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Fletcher was born in Nottingham, England, and played with Clarke and Gore in other bands before starting Depeche Mode. He founded his own record label, Toast Hawaii, in 2002, and also toured as a DJ.
He leaves behind his wife of nearly 30 years, Gráinne Mullan, and their two children, Megan and Joe.
Lol Tolhurst, a former drummer and keyboardist for The Cure, paid tribute to Fletcher on Twitter Thursday.
“I knew Andy and considered him a friend,” Tolhurst wrote. “We crossed many of the same pathways as younger men. My heart goes out to his family, bandmates, and DM fans. RIP Fletch.”
“His keyboard sounds crafted not just Depeche Mode’s sonic approach but shifted the direction of Techno, EDM, Downtempo, Triphop, & Electronica. Crucial loss,” Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid tweeted.
The Pet Shop Boys said on Twitter that he was “a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music.”
Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark tweeted that he was a “beautiful person in an amazing band.”
Depeche Mode’s most recent album, “Spirit,” was released in 2017, which they supported with a worldwide tour.