Jesse Saunders

Chicago DJ and house music pioneer Jesse Saunders has suffered a setback in his recovery from a major stroke and friends and family are reaching out for support.

Saunders suffered a major stroke in November 2022. He would be facing a “long and difficult rehab,” 5 Mag reported at the time, “and will need the love and support of the house music community to which he has given much,” according to a release from the Chosen Few DJ crew he belongs to.

Last week an update revealed that Saunders had collapsed at his home. “He is NOT in a good place,” a message from Kirkland Townsend says.

“He cannot afford the care he needs in the rehab facility and is at risk to be released without further help. This is an URGENT matter, as he will be evicted from the care facility by the end of this month, if we cannot get him the funds to maintain his care.”


Jesse’s family and longtime friends in the industry have launched a GoFundMe campaign to take care of these urgent needs. The community urged both to contribute what they can if they can as well as share the link “across every platform.”

Jesse Saunders was the second member of the Chosen Few DJs, the Chicago DJ crew founded by Wayne Williams in the dawning days of house music on the South Side of Chicago. He also released “On & On,” considered by many to be the “first house music record” on vinyl. Later he wrote one of the first accounts of the origins of house music in Chicago called House Music… The Real Story.

All of our love to Jesse’s family and friends and to Jesse himself on his recovery.