Rock singer Lou Reed dies - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Rock singer Lou Reed dies

Lou Reed in an undated photo from PBS. (Source: MGN Online) Lou Reed in an undated photo from PBS. (Source: MGN Online)
Lou Reed performs in Malaga, Spain. (Source:Marcelo Costa/Wikimedia Commons/MGN Online) Lou Reed performs in Malaga, Spain. (Source:Marcelo Costa/Wikimedia Commons/MGN Online)

(RNN) - Legendary rock singer Lou Reed died Sunday. He was 71.

Reed was a singer, song writer and a member of the famous rock group The Velvet Underground.

The Brooklyn, NY singer was inducted into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of fame in 1996. Reed was famous for his poetic lyrics that did not shy away from rough topics, such as Walk on the Wild Side.

In 1999, Reed won a Grammy Award for best long form music video for the American Masters special Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart.

The cause of death hasn't been released, but according to USA Today Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.

Reed developed an interest in rock and roll at a young age and learned to play the guitar from the radio.

In 1960, Reed studied journalism, film directing and creative writing at Syracuse University and hosted a late-night radio program called Excursions on a Wobbly Rail.

According to the Associated Press, Reed's real break began in college. Where he studied under Delmore Schwartz, whom Reed would call the first "great man" he ever encountered.

Reed honored Schwartz in the song My House, explaining how he connected with the spirit of the late, mad poet through a Ouija board.

In 1964, Reed worked as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records in New York, and scored a minor dance hit called The Ostrich.

The ad hoc group called The Primitives with John Cale and Tony Conrad was formed.

Guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Maureen Tucker were invited to join the group, and the Velvet Underground was formed.

The group's debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, was ranked 13th greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone.

Reed left the group in 1970 and started his solo career. He signed a recording contract with RCA records in 1971.

Walk on the Wild Side and Sweet Jane were released.

According to CNN, Simon Vozick-Levinson - a senior editor at Rolling Stone - said,  "Reed gave a voice to gay and transgender people in a way that had never been done before by a popular artist, which made his work incredibly important to many people."

In the 1980s, Reed married British designer Sylvia Morales. They divorced in the 1990s, and he married performance artist Laurie Anderson in 2008.

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