Musician Lou Reed dies at 71

(JTA) — Musician and guitarist Lou Reed, the frontman for the band Velvet Underground as well as a solo artist, has died.

Reed, who was born to a Jewish family, died Sunday at 71. A cause of death was not made public.

He had a liver transplant last year after years of alcohol and drug abuse.

Reed, born Lewis Allan Reed in Brooklyn, N.Y., became influential in rock by blending art and music in New York in the 1960s through Velvet Underground’s collaboration with pop artist Andy Warhol.  The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 1996.

Reed quit the band in 1970 and focused on his solo career, which featured the 1972 hit song “Walk on the Wild Side.”

He visited Israel five years ago with his musician wife Laurie Anderson during her world tour.

Reed reportedly was coy about his Jewish roots. He was quoted as saying, “My God is rock ’n’ roll” and “The most important part of my religion is to play guitar.”

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