The musician passed away in his sleep on 16 July (16), his family announced in a statement on rocker Henry Rollins' website.

The message begins, "With profound sadness and a stillness that only news like this can bring, we regret to inform you that the great artist and creative force, Alan Vega has passed away."

Vega formed the electronic duo with Martin Rev in 1970 and they released their influential self-titled debut album in 1977. The band has been considered pioneers for its early use of synthesizers and drum machines, which have become widely used in the modern music industry.

The group released four more albums - Suicide: Alan Vega and Marin Rev in 1980, A Way of Life in 1988, 1992's Why Be Blue and, most recently, American Supreme in 2002.

They were due to headline the Desert Daze festival in Joshua Tree, California in October (16) and organisers have paid tribute via a statement released on Facebook.com.

The post reads, "We are shocked and heartbroken by the passing of the great Alan Vega: a man who inspired so many of us, an innovator and pioneer, one of the warriors who taught us to never compromise, a boundary breaking ghost rider of the unknown who paved the way for so many of us. It goes without saying that we were excited and honored to host Suicide at this year's festival."

Alan is survived by his wife Liz and son Dante. The family's statement concludes, "His incredible body of work, spanning five decades, will be with us forever."