The American singer-songwriter gained a cult following as founder and guitarist for The Velvet Underground in the late 1960s, despite the group’s modest number of radio hits. Reed’s unconventional musical stylings are credited for ushering in glam, punk, and alternative rock. He also had a heavy influence on the art world, including Andy Warhol, whose studio The Velvet Underground played in regularly.
Music critic Robert Christgau once wrote of Reed’s avant-garde and experimental tendencies, “Lou sure is adept at figuring out new ways to shit on people.”
Reed underwent a liver transplant in May, and the Associated Press reports his death was related to that transplant.
He is survived by musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson.