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Italian house DJ Claudio Coccoluto dies, aged 59

The DJ, writer and journalist passed away following a serious illness

Legendary Italian house DJ Claudio Coccoluto has died, aged 59. 

The longstanding DJ and columnist passed away this morning, 2nd March, following a “serious illness”, Italian publication La Repubblica reports

One of Italy’s most well-known house DJs, Coccoluto started DJing at the age of 13 in his father’s home appliance shop in his hometown of Gaeta. Eventually making his way onto local radio, the young DJ was caught up in the acid house revolution, and ended up landing residencies at the Seven Up club in Gianola and at the Histeria in Rome. He became one of Italy’s foremost proponents of house music, and went on to become the first European DJ to play the prestigious Sound Factory in New York in 1991. 

A cornerstone of the Italian scene, Coccoluto held down a residency at Goa club in Rome for 25 years. In 1995 he gave his reworking of the track ‘Belo Horizonte’ by The Heartists to Basement Jaxx, who subsequently blew it up via their Atlantic Jaxx label.  One of his biggest international hits was the deep tribal cut ‘Blues Brunch’ on Credence (later Cr2) in 2001. That same year, he released ‘Get Up! And Nae Tango’ on Parlophone.

A passionate advocate of electronic music, who appeared on the cover of DJ Mag in 1997, Coccoluto frequently spoke out in the media about issues facing the DJ world, and recently criticised the Italian government during lockdown for their poor support for the country’s music scene. “I try to use my position and do something special and something different. Because I think it’s a duty for a DJ that has, sorry, a ‘name’ to do something different and special,” he told Emma Warren for RBMA in 2004. 

Claudio died on Tuesday morning, 2nd March, at his home in Cassino, next to his wife Paola and their children Gianmaria and Gaia. In a Facebook statement his son Gianmaria Coccoluto wrote: "Our beloved dad left us last night”.

Tributes have been paid to the legendary DJ, some of which can be read below.