Andy Fletcher, keyboardist and a founding member of the multi-platinum British electronic music pioneers Depeche Mode, has died aged 60, the band has announced.
“We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member, and bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher,” the band wrote on Twitter late Thursday.
“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.”
— Depeche Mode (@depechemode) May 26, 2022
A person close to the band, speaking anonymously, told the Associated Press that Fletcher had died of natural causes at his home in the UK.
‘Fletch’ helped define electro-pop music scene
Born in 1961 in Nottingham, England, Fletcher went on to help form the band that would become the giants of British electro-pop along with fellow synthesizer players Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, and lead singer Dave Gahan.
Depeche Mode’s debut 1981 album “Speak & Spell” put them at the center of the British new wave scene, which spawned the hits “New Life” and “Just Can’t Get Enough.”
The band went on to sell more than 100 million albums, winning over a global audience with bestselling singles like “Personal Jesus,” “People Are People” or “Enjoy The Silence.”
The band’s last studio album “Spirit” came out in 2017.
A fan of the English soccer team Chelsea FC with a penchant for chess, Fletcher kept a low profile and did not sing or write songs. His face was never as familiar as those of his bandmates.
Along with other Depeche Mode members, Fletcher was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
He remained with the group until his death, though he missed part of their 1994 tour due to a reported mental health struggles.
Fletcher even started his own record label, Toast Hawaii, in 2002, releasing an album by the band CLIENT and would perform DJ sets at the new band’s live shows.
Fletcher leaves behind a wife and two children and his death means Gahan and Gore are now the only permanent members of Depeche Mode.
Fellow musicians pay respects
Fletcher’s music peers paid him tribute as word of his death spread, including the Pet Shop Boys who wrote on Twitter that he was “a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music.”
We’re saddened and shocked that Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode has died. Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business. pic.twitter.com/tOMQaeaFoc
— Pet Shop Boys (@petshopboys) May 26, 2022
Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark tweeted that he was a “beautiful person in an amazing band.”
Tonight we are celebrating selling out The Greek Theatre in LA but it will be touched by a great sadness as all of us say farewell to Andy Fletcher from Depeche Mode. A beautiful person in an amazing band. We send alll our love to his family.
— Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (@OfficialOMD) May 26, 2022
Singer Alison Moyet, who was childhood friends with Fletcher and went on to form Yazoo (known as Yaz in the United States) with ex-Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke wrote:
“Since we were 10. Same estate. Class mates to label mates. He who kept faith with all the old gang and they with him. It doesn’t compute. Fletch. I have no words.”
I have just heard the news. Since we were 10. Same estate. Class mates to label mates. He who kept faith with all the old gang and they with him. It doesn’t compute. Fletch. I have no words. #andyfletcher
— Alison Moyet (@AlisonMoyet) May 26, 2022
Featured image: Andrew Fletcher of Depeche Mode accepts their award for best group from actor Adrien Brody at the MTV Europe Music Awards Copenhagen, Denmark November 2, 2006. Photo: Reuters/Christian Charisius