Andrew Fletcher, founding member and keyboard player of Depeche Mode, has died at the age of 60.
In a statement shared on social media, the British electronic band said they were filled with "overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member and bandmate Andy 'Fletch' Fletcher.
The band said their friend "had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh, or a cold pint."
"Our heart are with his family, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time.”
Fletcher, Martin Gore and Vince Clarke formed Depeche Mode in the 1970s. He originally played bass guitar.
In decades since, the group has released 14 studio albums, 10 compilation albums, as well as six live albums.
They have sold well over 100 million records worldwide.
Lol Tolhurst, drummer with The Cure, shared a heartfelt tribute to Fletcher after news of his death broke.
“Very sad news today. Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode has passed,” he tweeted.
“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.”
Very sad news today. Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode has passed. 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.— Lol Tolhurst (@LolTolhurst) May 26, 2022
Carol Decker, lead singer for the band T’Pau, described Fletcher as “a lovely guy”, adding: “Sending all my love to his family friends and band members.”
And Pet Shop Boys said in a post on Facebook: “Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business.”
Fletcher was often modest about his role in Depeche Mode compared to that of his fellow musicians, Gore, Alan Wilder and Dave Gahan.
In an interview for the 1989 documentary 101, he described their roles as: “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.”
Despite their popularity, the band never had a No.1 single, though they reached No.4 across three separate decades with People are People, Barrel of a Gun and Precious.
Fletcher leaves behind a wife, Grainne, to whom he was married for almost 30 years, and two children, Megan and Joe.
His former bandmates said their “hearts are with his family” and asked fans to “keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time”.
The cause of death has not yet been confirmed.