DJ Philippe Zdar dead at 52: Calvin Harris, David Guetta, more pay tribute
French DJ and music producer Philippe Zdar died on Wednesday, June 19. He was 52.
Zdar’s booking agent confirmed to The New York Times that the Cassius member died after accidentally falling through a window on a high floor of a building in Paris.
Zdar (real name Philippe Cerboneschi) was best known for being one half of the electronic duo Cassius with Hubert “Boom Bass” Blanc-Francard. They started working together in 1988 and found success around the world in the 1990s and 2000s with their synth-pop singles. Jay-Z and Kanye West famously sampled Cassius’ song “I Love You So” on “Why I Love You,” a cut from the rappers’ 2011 joint album, Watch the Throne.
Cassius’ new album, Dreems, is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 21. It comes 20 years after their debut, 1999.
Throughout his career, Zdar also produced music for other artists. Perhaps most notably, he worked on the French indie band Phoenix’s 2009 album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. The record’s success inspired musicians such as West, 42, and Pharrell Williams to work at Zdar’s Paris recording studio, Motorbass.
After news broke of Zdar’s death, several members of the music community took to social media to pay tribute to him. Calvin Harris tweeted a link to “Cassius 1999” and wrote, “Awful news about Phillipe Zdar, what an unbelievably lovely man with an incredible legacy. I was mesmerized by this record as a 15 year old.”
David Guettatweeted a photo of Zdar, writing, “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.”
Former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij added, “Philippe zdar was such a huge inspiration. i remember spending weeks mastering ‘unbelievers’ — putting it up against phoenix’s ‘1901’ as the benchmark of an incredible mix, —nothing could touch it. we had to mix it over and over again just to get close.”
Zdar is survived by his wife, Dyane Cerboneschi, and his three children.