Walter Becker, co-founder of the influential jazz-rock band Steely Dan, died on Sunday at age 67, according to his website, which did not disclose the cause of death.
Becker, who played lead guitar, formed Steely Dan with Donald Fagen, its keyboardist and lead vocalist. In its heyday in the 1970s, the band scored hits with "Reelin' in the Years," "Do It Again," "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" and "Deacon Blues."
Becker and Fagen became friends as students at Bard College in New York in the late 1960s. After working as touring musicians they moved to Los Angeles, releasing the first Steely Dan album in 1972: "Can't Buy a Thrill." The band took their name from a fanciful dildo that appears in the beat novelist William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch."
The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2001, where their official biography describes their 1970s albums as "wry, nuanced and hyper-literate" that are "highly regarded by connoisseurs of pop hooks, jazz harmony and desiccating wit."
After a long hiatus, the band reunited in the late 1990s to record its first studio album in 20 years, according to the Steely Dan website. That album, "Two Against Nature," would go on to win Album of the Year in 2000 at the Grammy Awards.
Becker missed concerts earlier in the year as he recovered from an unspecified medical procedure, Fagen told Billboard.