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RIP Earl Smith...

Earl Smith, known to the world as DJ Spank-Spank and a founding member of acid house group Phuture, has died.

The cause of death is unknown, although Smith did suffer a stroke back in May this year. 

As part of Chicago trio Phuture, alongside DJ Pierre and Herb J, Smith is credited with inventing acid house. In 1987, the outfit released 'Acid Tracks', the first house record to feature the Roland TB-303, the synth which defined the sound of the genre.

After several now-deleted initial reports, a statement posted via the Phuture Facebook page confirmed Smith's death, saying: “To our Acid House family and Music family at large we are very sorry to say that our friend and partner DJ Spank Spank has passed away. Spank is (was) a legend. We will for certain continue the work he’s started on his final album project and his innovations in music. Please for now: Pray for his family and DJ Pierre his brother. Allow them time to grieve. We will come back with news. Much love.”

Speaking to Thump, DJ Pierre himself said: “Spanky is the reason why the group Phuture was formed. The world has no idea how talented he was and how much I depended on him. He texted me last night saying he was working on music and how excited he was to have this opportunity to perform again. We were working on our album project and he was so excited about that. I’m just speechless right now. He lived for this music. So we will make sure he forever will live in this music we created together. He will be in a better place. Love each other people. Love life.”