Andy Fletcher, founding member and keyboardist of Depeche Mode, has died at the age of 60. “Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh, or a cold pint,” the band wrote in a statement. “Our hearts are with his family, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time.” No cause of death has been provided at this time.
Fletcher was born in 1961 in Nottingham, England, and his family moved to Basildon when he was a child. There, he met future Depeche Mode founding member Vince Clarke, with whom he formed a band called No Romance in China. After meeting Martin Gore, they formed a different group named Composition of Sound, changing their name to Depeche Mode in 1980 with the addition of Dave Gahan. Though Clarke departed the band following the release of their 1981 debut Speak & Spell, Fletcher remained an active member throughout their entire career, which spans 14 studio albums. Depeche Mode’s most recent LP was 2017’s Spirit.
In 2002, Fletcher launched his own record label, a Mute Records imprint called Toast Hawaii. In addition to his tenure with the band, he also had a career as a DJ. In 2020, Fletcher was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Depeche Mode.
“We’re saddened and shocked that Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode has died,” Pet Shop wrote on Twitter. “Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business.”
Lol Tolhurst, drummer with The Cure, also paid tribute to the late keyboardist online, writing: “I knew Andy and considered him a friend. We crossed many of the same pathways as younger men. My heart goes out to his family, bandmates, and DM fans. RIP Fletch.”