Andrew Fletcher, keyboardist and founding member of British electronic band Depeche Mode, died aged 60 of natural causes, the band announced.

In a statement posted on social media, the band said: “Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh or a cold pint.”

Fletcher was a founding member of the band which found success with their dark electronic sound. The band’s chart success in the 1980s and 1990s was with singles including New Life, Enjoy the Silence and Just Can’t Get Enough.

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The group was founded in Basildon in 1980 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years ago.

Fletcher, who was born in Nottingham, remained with the band throughout its four-decade history. The band had two number one albums, Ultra and Songs of Faith and Devotion.

His last studio album with the band was 2017’s Spirit, their 14th, which reached number five in the UK albums chart.

Fletcher was the eldest of four siblings born to Joy and John Fletcher. The family moved to Basildon from Nottingham when he was two years old.

He was married to Gráinne Fletcher for almost 30 years. The couple had two children.

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Lol Tolhurst, former drummer with rock band The Cure, described the news of Fletcher’s death as “very sad.”

“I knew Andy and considered him a friend. We crossed many of the same pathways as younger men,” he tweeted.

In a post on Facebook, Pet Shop Boys said: “Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business.”

Sister Bliss, from electronic band Faithless, described Fletcher as a “keyboard warrior” and tweeted that he was “gone way too soon.”