Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Lou Reed, vocalist and songwriter for the Velvet Underground has died at age 71, according to his publicist.
Reed passed away Sunday morning. Sources believe his death was related to a liver transplant he had this year.
Reed was a musical pioneer who went from record label songwriter to a member of an innovative and influential band.
Reed attended Syracuse University, where he studied film and writing. He graduated in 1964 and moved to New York City to pursue his music career.
He's known to rock and roll fans everywhere, but Central New York may deserve just a little bit of credit for Lou Reed's success. His time at SU was just a prelude to his legendary career.
"As far as I'm concerned, Lou fit right into the pages of our Rock and Roll history," said Ron Gersbacher, music historian.
Part of that history was time on the local airwaves.
"In 1961, Lou had his own short radio show on WAER and it was called 'Excursions on a Wobbly Rail'," said Gersbacher.
But what really set the tone was his live music, using the campus as his audience.
"Lou formed his own on-campus band that was called L.A. and the Eldorados," said Gersbacher.
Reed performed at fraternity houses after SU football games. His music may have been influenced by some who came through the campus at the time.
"He studied under the poet Delmar Schwartz who was at SU at the time. Their relationship was strong over the years, including rumors Lou was going to record his poetry and put it to music," said Gersbacher.
Syracuse University released this statement:
"The Syracuse University family learned today of the passing of one of its own, musical pioneer Lou Reed, an honors graduate of the class of '64 whom we honored just a few years ago with SU's highest alumni recognition, the Arents Award. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, Lou's artistic daring reflects the boundary breaking determination that characterizes the cultural contributions of our most accomplished alumni. His generosity in establishing the Lou Reed/Delmore Schwartz scholarship to honor his SU faculty mentor and support aspiring creative writers echoes the SU ethos of making a difference in the lives of others. While the SU community mourns his loss, we celebrate his poetic soul and innovative spirit."
He is survived by his wife, Laurie Anderson, a songwriter and a performance artist.