Friends have confirmed to 5 Mag that Darrell Woodson – DJ, producer, inspirational figure and house music sage of Chicago – has passed away.

“Last night we lost a sweet soul who happened to be a fantastic DJ,” DJ Heather told 5 Mag. “He fought a long battle but now in peace may he rest. In the death there is eternal life. Love to him, family and close friends.”

Photo via DJ Heather

Darrell Woodson is remembered by many as a resident at Smartbar. Owner Joe Shanahan posted on Facebook that Darrell “was a gentle person and loved having him bring his musical taste/style to Smartbar.”

DJ Colette, like many people we reached out to, remembered Darrell for his smile “and an even better laugh. He was always kind, but still liked to laugh at all our off the wall jokes. He changed my life trajectory when he asked me to promote his Mummy Bar night. I was only 19 years old, but he believed in me and that led into my career of working in nightlife.

“He was one of the best DJs you’d ever meet, but didn’t mind sharing the spotlight. I will always remember your kindness and I will always be grateful for everything you taught me. You will be forever missed.”

Darrell is also remembered as a part (and probably a founding father) of the “Gramaphone family” – the former staff and alumni of the famous Chicago record store situated on Chicago’s Northside. Bear Who? once told me that working at Gramaphone in the ’90s would make you “probably the most educated DJ in the world.” That was certainly true of Darrell Woodson. He was a reservoir of knowledge for DJs and producers looking to source a record or a sample.

Darrell Woodson’s mixtapes sold from Gramaphone were bestsellers before we had any means to measure such things – they were easily some of the most widely trafficked tapes in Chicago’s house scene.

That’s probably how it’s best to remember him, if you are a fan of this music. Jesse de la Pena has announced that Vocalo Radio will be paying tribute to Darrell by featuring his mixes this Thursday 05/09 & Friday 05/10.

And here are a couple of others:

Photo via Jesse de la Pena, Vocalo 91.1 FM.