Walter Becker of Steely Dan dead at 67

His passing was first announced via his official website, and early Sunday his long-time musical partner Donald Fagen issued a statement in which he pledged to keep Steely Dan’s music alive.Fagen praised his partner as “smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist and a great songwriter.”   Becker had recently missed the band’s July performances in Los Angeles and New York as part of the Classic West and Classic East festivals. The band’s ornately produced albums, such as 1974’s “Pretzel Logic” and 1977’s “Aja,” became chart hits. No cause of death was revealed. He was 67. “We wish him a speedy recovery.”Steely Dan, formed in the early ’70s after Becker and Fagen met at Bard College in   Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., was known for its ability to incorporate jazz and R&B into often patient and calming arrangements that were full of unexpected detours. The band drifted after the release of 1980’s “Gaucho,” but reunited in 1993 and in 2000 released its first studio album in two decades with “Two Against Nature.” The album would eventually win the Grammy Award for album of the year, and Steely Dan remained a touring force. Latest updates A full obituary will appear later at latimes.com/obituaries. Donald Fagen, left, and Walter Becker of Steely (Danny Clinch)Walter Becker, the co-founder, guitarist and bassist of Steely Dan, an act known for its wry nature and its low-key musical proficiency, has died. “He took ill shortly before he was to come to California,” Fagen said on stage at Dodger Stadium on July 15.