Mike Brown had suffered from cancer since at least 2023.
Detroit’s tightly knit dance music scene mourns one of its own as the news of Mike Brown‘s passing has come to light. The influential DJ’s family has confirmed that he died on January 14.
While an official cause of death has not been disclosed, Brown had recently battled cancer. In June 2023, a GoFundMe had been launched to help cover the costs of his treatment. It reached about $4,000 of its $15,000 target before he passed, and now it’s been relaunched to help his family with funeral expenses.
The organizers of Charivari Detroit Music Festival first announced Brown’s death. He routinely performed there as well as at world-famous Detroit gathering Movement Music Festival.
Mike Brown was a member of pioneering Detroit DJ collective Direct Drive, whose origins extend all the way back to the late ’70s. It predated Detroit techno but inspired Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, and Eddie Fowlkes — all forerunners of the genre — to start a group called Deep Space in the early ’80s. Present-day Charivari organizer Todd Johnson founded Direct Drive, which came to include collaborators like Theresa Hill, James Wells, Alan Heath, Tim Slater, Hassan Narullah, Ray Berry, Kevin Dysard, and Mike “Agent X” Clark.
“Mike Brown was one of the artists at the start of the Detroit electronic music scene,” Clark wrote for the GoFundMe page. “Although too young to understand the scene, Mike had a very strong impression on me during those early days in the late ’70s thru the early ’80s.“
“As I grew older, was blessed to work in collaborations as he has become a very dear friend, close to heart from bridged souls throughout the years,” he continued. “He is what you would call the quiet, cool one. Proteus and glad to know him and call him my older brother.”
No details of a memorial for Mike Brown have been shared with the public at the time of writing.