Andy “Fletch” Fletcher, keyboardist for British synth pop giants Depeche Mode for more than 40 years, has died aged 60.
Depeche Mode announced the death of founding member Fletcher on its official social media pages.
A person close to the group said Fletcher died of natural causes at his home in the UK on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
“We are shocked and filled with immense sadness at the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member and teammate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher,” the group messages said. “Fletch had a real heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh or a cold pint.”
Fletcher formed Depeche Mode with fellow synthesizers Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, and vocalist Dave Gahan, in Basildon, England in 1980.
The band would release a year later with their debut album “Speak and Spell,” which would open with the humble hit “New Life” and end with one of the band’s most enduring hits, “Just Can’t Get Enough”.
Clarke will leave the group and be replaced by Alan Wilder after the album.
The group would achieve international success with 1984’s “Some Great Reward” and the single “People are People”, and their notoriety would only grow throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.
Fletcher would lend his keyboards to classic albums such as “Music for the Masses”, “Black Celebration” and “Violator”.
The first of these led to a world tour that brought a live album, a documentary and a legendary concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, which represented the pinnacle of the band’s notoriety.
Fletcher assumed a low profile in the group, his face never as familiar as those of his bandmates.
“Martin is the songwriter, Alan is the good musician, Dave is the vocalist and I hang around,” he said in the tour’s documentary, “101.”
His death leaves Gahan and Gore as the only permanent members of the group.