Latin Grammys 2018

German Publishing Pioneer Dr. Rolf Budde Dies at 61

Tristar Media/Getty Images
Rolf Budde and Benjamin Budde attend the 70th anniversary party of Budde Music on July 13, 2017 in Berlin, Germany.

German music publishing executive and advocate Prof. Dr. Rolf Budde died in Berin overnight following a long illness, Billboard has learned. He was 61.

Budde had been president and chairman of the German Music Publishers' Association (DMV) since June 2014 and was a member of the board of collecting society GEMA.

He also ran the family business, independent publishing company Budde Music, with his son Benjamin. The legendary company, which turned 70 last year, owns a trove of classic copyrights including "Summer Wind," made famous by Frank Sinatra; "Forever Young," which was sampled by Jay-Z; and "Rock Me Amadeus," the Hot 100 topper from Falco.

Budde is survived by his wife Madeleine and four children.

Tributes to Budde have begun pouring in from members of the region's music industry.

Dr. Florian Drücke, chairman & CEO of the German music industry association (BVMI): "With deep mourning we have learnt about the sudden death of Prof. Dr. Rolf Budde. One of the great music-publishers of our time has left us so suddenly. In the name of our board, the members and employees of our association the sympathy is with his wife and his children. As president of the German music-publishers association he shaped in debates the interests of his branch of industry nationally and internationally. He has always fought in the interest of his fellow colleagues, put the reciprocally understanding in front and lived in every moment for art and the culture. He will be missed very much."

Dr. Axel Sikorski, managing director of Sikorski Musikverlage in Hamburg, vice president of DMV and member of ICMP: "With Rolf Budde we not only are loosing a highly valued colleague, but more important a very good friend and a companion for decades. His sudden and much too early death shocked all of us very much. We will miss him professionally and as a human being; we will not forget him."

Pamela Georgi, managing director of Melodie der Welt in Frankfurt: "This is so incredibly sad. Rolf was a great character and as a colleague I recognized him very much. My thoughts are with Madeleine and the kids. The music-publishing community in Germany will have a very sad annual meeting in Kassel in two weeks."

Prof. Michael Karnstedt, former president Peermusic Europe and a member of the GEMA board: "The sad news [has] shocked me deeply. Rolf was a very competent and capable music publisher, extremely intelligent with, on the other side, a great sense of typical Berlin humour. We all will miss Rolf very very much."

This story will be updated.