(CNN) — Lou Reed, who took rock ‘n’ roll into dark corners as a songwriter, vocalist and guitarist for the Velvet Underground and as a solo artist, has died at the age of 71, his publicist said Sunday.
“It is now officially confirmed that Lou Reed did pass away several hours ago,” Peter Noble said.
Noble didn’t disclose details of Reed’s death.
Reed was a rock pioneer who went from record label songwriter to a member of a short-lived, but innovative and influential band.
“Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example,” wrote Jon Dolan in Rolling Stone, which first reported his death.
Reed, violist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker played their first show as the Velvet Underground in 1965.
The Velvets tackled taboo topics like drug addiction, paranoia and sexual deviancy, according to their bio page on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame site.
Rock mythology has it that even though they were around only for a few years, everyone who went to a Velvet Underground concert went out and started a band.
And performers from David Bowie to R.E.M. and U2 have cited them as inspiration.
In 1970, Reed left the Velvets for a long solo career turning out classics like “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Sweet Jane.”
Reed’s wife, Laurie Anderson, told The Times of London this summer, that Reed had a life-saving liver transplant in May.