Lou Reed, musician and poet, dies at age 71

Reed shaped underground scene

NEW YORK - Lou Reed, an influential musician and poet, has died of a liver-related ailment.

The death of Reed, 71, was first reported Sunday by Rolling Stone magazine.

Reed's literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said Reed died Sunday morning.

Reed's storied career, while largely underground, shaped a generation beginning in the 1960s. He was perhaps best known as the driving force of the Velvet Underground, a band in which he sang, played guitar and was a songwriter.

Reed's career never approached the commercial success of such contemporaries as the Beatles and Bob Dylan, but no songwriter to emerge after Dylan so radically expanded the territory of rock lyrics.

No band did more than the Velvet Underground to open rock music to the avant-garde -- to experimental theater, art, literature and film.

Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

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