Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider dies aged 73

Florian Schneider, co-founder of the pioneering electronic music group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73.

He had reportedly been diagnosed with cancer, with record label Sony confirming his death on Wednesday.

Schneider founded Kraftwerk alongside fellow German Ralf Hutter in 1970, the pair had met as students in Dusseldorf.

Schneider worked on every one of the the group's studio albums - including The Man-Machine, which spawned their biggest hit, and The Model, which topped the UK charts in 1982.

He was a multi-discipline artist, playing the synthesizer, vocoder, flute and saxophone.

The music of Kraftwerk played a major role in the emergence of synthpop in the 1980s - their work was widely sampled by house and disco producers in the US.

David Bowie was among Schneider's many musical admirers, Bowie's Berlin Trilogy of Low, Heroes and Lodger in the 1970s were all inspired by Kraftwerk.

Bowie even named an instrumental track on the album Heroes after the musician - V-2 Schneider.

Schneider left the group in 2008 following the group's final studio album in 2003 and a return to touring.

The group had been due to embark on a summer tour this year, celebrating their 50th anniversary - it was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In their current make-up as a four-piece, Kraftwerk features Schneider's co-founder of the group Hutter alongside Fritz Hilpert, Henning Schmitz and Falk Grieffenhagen.

Figures from across the world of music have paid tribute to Schneider, including Spandau Ballet singer Gary Kemp.

He wrote: "Such an important influence upon so much of the music we know, from Bowie, to electronica, much of the 80s and beyond into modern techno and rap, Florian Schneider was forging a new Metropolis of music for us all to live in."

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark wrote on Twitter: "We are absolutely devastated to learn that one of our heroes Florian Schneider has passed away."

While Singer Lloyd Cole added: "The very best electropop, ever. RIP Florian."