Rock Icon Lou Reed Dead at 71

Lou Reed, a musician, photographer and cultural icon best known as the lead singer of the Velvet Underground, has died. He was 71.

Rolling Stone first reported the news on Sunday. Reed’s literary agent, Andrew Wylie, later confirmed the death to The New York Times.

Reed transformed the music scene in the 1960s as part of the Velvet Underground, a band that influenced many later rock acts. They created songs that candidly discussed the sex and drug culture of the time, a gritty honesty that continued in Reed’s later projects. The band’s well-known debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, was supported by famed artist Andy Warhol, who also designed its iconic banana cover.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Reed studied poetry and journalism at Syracuse University. He eventually formed the Velvet Underground, before leaving the band in 1970. Reed went on to create his own music as a solo artist, writing legendary songs such as “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Satellite of Love.” U2 and Duran Duran were among the bands that later covered his work.