Philippe Zdar, the hugely influential French music producer famed for being one half of the electro duo Cassius and also for working with artists ranging from Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and the Beastie Boys to Phoenix and Franz Ferdinand, died on Wednesday night in a freak accident in Paris.
According to a report in the New York Times, the 52-year-old fell through a window on a high floor in a Parisian building. The death was confirmed by Zdar’s booking agent in an email to the outlet. The BBC reports that the French police are investigating the case as a routine accident.
Born Philippe Cerboneschi, Zdar teamed up with his Cassius partner Hubert “Boom Bass” Blanc-Francard in 1988, and their debut album 1999 went on to become a defining work of the electronic music genre known as “French Touch.”
In 2009, he worked with Phoenix on the French indie band’s album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which won a Grammy Award for best alternative music album.
Cassius’ first album in three years, Dreems, is set to be released this Friday, and Zdar was due to perform at New York City’s SummerStage festival series in Central Park on Sunday.
Zdar was mourned on social media by members of the musical community who had worked with the late producer, or had been inspired by his work. Calvin Harris tweeted a YouTube link to the extended version of “1999” along with a personal message. “Awful news about Phillipe Zdar, what an unbelievably lovely man with an incredible legacy,” he wrote. “I was mesmerized by this record as a 15 year old.”
Fellow French producer David Guetta shared a photo of Zdar, which he captioned with the message: “Sad awakening here 😦 I just heard Philippe Zdar from @CASSIUSOFFICIAL passed away. I can’t stop remembering amazing parties we had all together. All my loving to your family, BoomBass and Pedro. RIP dg.”
“Rest in Peace Zdar. I still remember watching the Wolfgang Diaries on YouTube. Still one of the best albums ever made ❤️” Phoenix posted on their Instagram account.
Alex Kapranos of the Scottish rock group Franz Ferdinand shared a series of emotional notes via social media. “Totally devastated by the loss of my friend Phillipe Zdar,” he began. “Can’t really process it at the moment. Just feel awful.”
Zdar leaves behind wife Dyane Cerboneschi and three children.
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