The more retiring full-term member of the group, Becker was partnered with singer-keyboardist and co-writer Fagen on a string of jazzy, sleekly produced singles and albums that ruled the charts during the '70s.
Steely Dan played without Becker at the Classic East and West concerts this summer and at the time Donald Fagen told Billboard, "Walter's recovering from a procedure and hopefully he'll be fine very soon". Becker died Sunday (Sept. 2) with the musician's official website breaking the news to the public.
Becker's band Steely Dan was known for blending jazz, R&B and rock music for a signature sound in the early 1970s. "Luckily, he was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter", the statement read.
Becker and Fagen co-founded Steely Dan in 1972.
A reformed Steely Dan won the prestigious Grammy for Album of the Year for its 2000 album "Two Against Nature".
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Singer/songwriter Ryan Adams posted several tributes, including one in which he thanked Becker for changing his life "with your mystical music and guitar playing..."
Becker was born in Queens, New York on February 20, 1950. If you're a Steely Dan fan you have to check out the Aja documentary. insane.
The pair formed the band at Bard College in NY and their jazz-flavoured music saw them sell 40m records.
In an interview for "Circus Money" with the blog No More Big Wheels, Becker described his fascination both with the rhythms of reggae and with Jamaican culture and said reggae had always been part of the mix for Steely Dan. They performed together in a number of campus bands, including one, the Leather Canary, which included classmate and future "Saturday Night Live" star Chevy Chase on drums. Safe to say, relatively few of the band's legions of record buyers could have picked Becker out of a line-up.
Becker and Fagen went their own ways for much of the 1980s, producing solo albums.