The rock gods were unkind to us this morning as Lou Reed, frontman for the iconic New York City alt-rock band Velvet Underground and one of rock’s forefathers has died. He was 71. Reed died in Long Island, NY and earlier this past May he had received a liver transplant, though the true cause of death is unknown.

To hip-hop heads, Reed’s 1972 hit “Take A Walk On The Wild Side” was instrumental in A Tribe Called Quest’s legendary “Can I Kick It?”. To others, Reed’s work with the Underground including his debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico set a bar for New York City rock bands which some say still stands to this day. He was influential to strains of indie rock, glam rock, noise rock and any other piece of the genre that transitioned it merely from a talking point among hip kids to something that transcended art and literature.

Reed’s last major album, a 2011 collaboration with Metallica in Lulu was panned and didn’t make much noise on the charts but it showed that even in his sixth decade on earth, Reed wasn’t afraid to experiment with new sounds and ideas. Earlier this year he penned a review of Kanye West’s Yeezus review and true to his mannerisms and characteristics, he liked it. Reed has influenced and worked with a high ranging number of acts throughout his career, most notably in the 60s and 70s with Andy Warhol, David Bowie, U2, The Strokes and more and may be considered second only to Bob Dylan in terms of influential men of the genre itself.