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Depeche Mode co-founder and keyboardist Andy 'Fletch' Fletcher dies aged 60

Depeche Mode co-founder Andy Fletcher has died, the band has announced on social media tonight (May 26). The keyboardist, nicknamed Fletch, was aged 60 and had been with the band since its formation in 1980.

A statement on Depeche Mode social media accounts said: “We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member, and bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher. 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.

“Our hearts are with his family, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time.”

Born in Nottingham, the family moved to Basildon when Fletcher was two years old. The band, formed in Basildon, Essex, in 1980, was originally formed by Fletcher when he was 19 and Vince Clarke, who went on to huge success with Yazoo and Erasure. Current members are vocalist Dave Gahan and keyboardist/guitarist Martin Gore.

Their music was massively influential in the UK alternative scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Known for the electronic music which Fletcher's keyboards underpinned in the 1980s, they diverged into rockier sounds - influenced by Gahan's interest in the grunge scene - for their critically acclaimed Songs Of Faith And Devotion in 1993.

Depeche Mode have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and their biggest song success came with the BRIT Award-winning single Enjoy The Silence in 1990.

Fletcher was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years ago. Musicians paid fulsome tribute to Fletched on social media following the announcement.

Lol Tolhurst of The Cure tweeted: "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."

Miles Hunt from The Wonder Stuff added: "My band had the great pleasure of playing with @depechemode many years ago. And a more welcoming, kind & encouraging bunch of people I could never have wished to meet.

"Sending much love to Andy Fletcher's nearest and dearest. X"