Walter Becker Dead: Steely Dan Guitarist and Cofounder Dies at 67

Walter Beck, Steely Dan
Walter Becker of Steely Dan performs during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California on April 17, 2015. Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Another rock great gone. Walter Becker, cofounder of the band Steely Dan, died at age 67 on Sunday, September 3, his website announced. No details about his death were given.

The band’s other cofounder, Donald Fagen, released a remembrance of his longtime friend after news of Becker’s death broke.

“Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967,” the vocalist began. “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.”

The musician explained that the guitarist had a difficult childhood, but “had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidding psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art.”

“I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band,” Fagen concluded.

The band found fame and success in the ’70, with their debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, which went platinum. But the group split up in 1981 after the release of Gaucho the year prior, before reuniting again for the 2000 release Two Against Nature. Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the next year.

According to the Associated Press, Becker had missed performing in several shows this past summer. Fagen explained to Billboard magazine in August that the late guitarist had been “recovering from a procedure,” but did not provide additional details.

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