Paul Johnson, the legendary Chicago house music producer and DJ, has died at age 50 after contracting COVID-19.
Johnson was recently hospitalized with the virus and admitted to the ICU. After battling COVID for several days, his agent confirmed he passed today, Wednesday, August 4.
A statement from Johnson’s official Facebook page shared the following: “Our greatness passed away this morning at 9am the house music legend we all know as PJ aka PAUL JOHNSON has passed away in this day of AUGUST 4th 2021. Rest In Heaven Paul.”
Across his extensive career, Johnson released over 100 singles, EPs, and albums, defining the Chicago sound from its earliest days alongside other legends like Green Velvet, Gene Farris, and Marshall Jefferson. Even more impressive is Johnson is entirely self taught.
Of his many notable tracks, one that stands out is his 1999 single “Get Get Down,” which charted in the US, Canada, UK, Netherlands, France, Greece and Belgium.
In 1987, Johnson was paralyzed from the waist down due to being shot, after which he began using a wheelchair. Both his legs would eventually be amputated as well. First his left in 2003 after suffering severe pains in his lower extremities. Then in 2010 he lost his right in a serious car crash.
This did not stop him from doing what he loved, however. He maintained his extensive release and touring schedule despite his disability. In an old video posted to his Facebook today Johnson said the following:
“Ever since I was young I always had this inside me to just go. Go, go, get out, get out faster. I never let anything hold me back. I never let any type of experiences let me down or put me down. I’ve always had my own mind and thought like that. I knew once everything I wanted to do nobody else was in my brain so I knew it couldn’t stop me. Even this disability couldn’t stop me. Nothing could. I just had that in me. I still have that drive in me right now. It’s a perseverance thing. I think I was born with it. I’m sure I was born with it.”