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Walter Becker, co-creator of Steely Dan, dead at 67

Walter Becker performs of Steely Dan onstage at Beacon Theatre on October 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Walter Becker, co-founder of the rock duo Steely Dan died on Sunday. He was 67.

His death was announced on his official website, which gave no other details.

He was born Feb. 20, 1950.

Becker, a Queens native, started Steely Dan with Donald Fagen. The duo met as students at Bard College in 1967 and founded the band in 1972.

Steely Dan has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Becker had missed performances earlier in the summer in Los Angeles and New York. Fagen later told Billboard that Becker was recovering from a procedure and hoped that he’d be fine soon.

Fagen released the following statement:

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

We liked a lot of the same things: jazz (from the twenties through the mid-sixties), W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and Robert Altman films come to mind. Also soul music and Chicago blues.

Walter had a very rough childhood – I’ll spare you the details. Luckily, he was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, including his own, and hysterically funny. Like a lot of kids from fractured families, he had the knack of creative mimicry, reading people’s hidden psychology and transforming what he saw into bubbly, incisive art. 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.

His habits got the best of him by the end of the seventies, and we lost touch for a while. In the eighties, when I was putting together the NY Rock and Soul Review with Libby, we hooked up again, revived the Steely Dan concept and developed another terrific band. I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.

Donald Fagen
September 3 2017

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.