The saxophonist and vocalist for Chicago-based independent/experimental bands Sweep The Leg Johnny, Check Engine, and ZZZZ, Steve Sostak, has passed away. He was 49.

The death was reported on Facebook by his former bandmates. Tributes to the late saxophonist’s greatest hits have poured in on Facebook and Twitter. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

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Who was Steve Sostak?

According to Sostak’s Facebook page, the performer currently resided in Beijing, but was originally from Chicago.

Sostak, who was on the rise in the music industry, attended the University of Notre Dame, where he met guitarist Chris Daly. They both appeared in Check Engine from 1993 to 1994. Later, they moved to Chicago, where they founded Sweep The Leg Johnny with the help of the drummer Scott Anna and the bassist Matt Alicea.

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After Sweep The Leg Johnny broke up, John Brady of Sostak and Swing Kids, Greg Sharp of Tekulvi, and Ellen Bunch, an electric pianist, created ZZZZ.

Following ZZZZ, Sostak taught for the next 14 years in Chicago, Lima, Kuala Lumpur, and Beijing. There, Sostak coached “diverse learners through designing media and global impact projects, helping spark educator and student passions to build community and problem solve in a challenging world.”

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To honor his bandmate, bassist John Brady shared an old video of Sweep The Leg Johnny performing at London’s The Verge in 2011. He captioned the post, “If you caught us live, I hope this will bring back some good memories amidst our loss. And if you were never able to, I hope it will give you at least a small sliver of just how intense and how much an incredible performer Steve Sostak was on stage.”