DJ Paul Johnson, the Chicago house music icon who influenced artists such as Daft Punk, died Wednesday morning after contracting Covid-19, according to his agency. He was 50 years old.
"Our greatness passed away this morning at 9am the house music legend we all know as PJ aka PAUL JOHNSON has passed away in this day of AUGUST 4th 2021," read a statement on Johnson's Facebook page. "Rest In Heaven Paul."
Johnson was a teenager when he became a DJ in the mid-1980s, according to Billboard. He started producing in 1990 and released hundreds of records throughout his career, the magazine reported. His 1999 single, "Get Get Down," spent 18 weeks on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart and ultimately hit No. 1.
According to Billboard, the song became an international hit and topped charts in Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
Daft Punk, one of the most influential and popular groups to emerge in the past 30 years, paid tribute to Johnson in the song "Teachers," saying the names of the duo's musical influences. Johnson's name was the first one mentioned on the track.
As news of Johnson's death spread, condolences poured in on social media.
"A reminder that all music we love and consume today, irregardless of its genre has roots and pioneers that sparked further inspiration," DJ Charlie Tee tweeted. "Paul Johnson we are forever indebted to you and your musical genius for paving the way."
In a Twitter post, DJ Paypal wrote, "Thank you for what you did for music."