Lou Reed dead at 71

Pioneering rocker and songwriter Lou Reed died Sunday at the age of 71. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Reed's cause of death was not immediately available, but he did receive a liver transplant in May of this year.

Reed, born Lewis Allan Reed in Brooklyn, NY, helped define a form of outsider rock and roll that paved the way for other proto-punk acts like the Stooges, the MC5 and Patti Smith. His band, the Velvet Underground, figured prominently in the downtown art scene of New York City in the 1960s and 70s.

Early on, the Velvet Underground was managed by pop artist Andy Warhol and the band helped launch the careers of musicians like John Cale, Mo Tucker and Nico. Reed left the band in the early 70s to release a series of groundbreaking solo albums, including "White Light/White Heat," "Transformer" and the 2-disk noise-rock set "Metal Machine Music."

[image of Lou Reed via Michal Durinik / Shutterstock.com]