Co-founder of Anticon Records, Brendon “Alias” Whitney, passed away on Friday (March 30). He was 41. Sage Francis, longtime friend and collaborator, took to Twitter to break the news on Saturday (March 31).

“There’s no proper way to say this or deal with this, but so I want to put this out there and then step away for a while,” the Strange Famous Records boss wrote. “Our great friend and longtime collaborator Brendon Whitney (@AliasAnticon) passed away of a heart attack yesterday. No one was nicer. No one. We love you, Bren.”

A tweet from Anticon backed up Sage’s annoucement: “Just received news of a major loss – the passing of our dear friend and Anticon co-founder @AliasAnticon. We will always remember him for his incredible heart and talent, and the support he gave us all. Rest in peace Brendon Whitney.”

The Maine producer (and sometimes rapper) established Anticon in 1998 along with fellow co-founders Tim “Sole” Holland, Doseone, Jel, Odd Nosdam, Pedestrian, and Yoni Wolf of WHY?.

Sole said to HipHopDX, “Alias is truly one of the greatest producers of all time. I can’t believe he is gone.”

The Chicharones’ Sleep, another longtime friend, added, “Alias was a beautiful person and his music helped change the soundscape of Hip Hop. He will always be a legend and he helped pioneer the indie movement. He will forever be missed. His death caught me off guard. He was such a wonderful guy. I’m really sad about his passing.”

Ceschi Ramos, co-founder of Fake Four Inc., also spoke on Alias’ undeniable impact on the indie Hip Hop world.

“When I first met the Anticon collective, I was in my late teens,” Ramos told DX. “These guys were living in a warehouse in East Oakland, just constantly working on music, running a label and living together. It made me want to drop my college scholarship and just do what they did.

“I originally found out about these artists from a compilation they released when I was in my final year of high school. I heard Alias’ ‘Divine Disappointment’ and the concept moved me. Then, I discovered a bootleg of Deep Puddle Dynamics [formerly Live Poets] and it blew my mind open. I had never heard conceptual, philosophical Hip Hop pushed so far. Alias’ production on Sole’s Bottle Of Humans moved me.”

Ramos says that was nothing compared to meeting the man behind the moniker.

“He was as genuine and humble as they come,” he said. “Dose and Sole had these giant personas. As much as I loved them, they were slightly intimidating to be around — sarcastic as hell, and rockstars to me. Alias was just this super fucking cool guy who listened and didn’t judge, who made us feel worthy. This guy didn’t have a bad bone in his body. Anybody will tell you that.

“To me, he was a master producer who constantly pushed himself forward. When he felt like rapping, he had moments of ultimate connection such as the underground classic, ‘Watching Water.’ Even though I haven’t seen him in years, I will always respect him and consider him a legend, and an integral force in the history of progressive Hip Hop. It tears me up that I even have to say this right now. Sending love to his family.”

Wolf reacted to Alias’ passing on Twitter, writing, “I am beyond saddened by this news. Bren was a human of the highest quality. We love and miss him so much.”

Doseone echoed Wolf’s sentiments and tweeted, “Bren is the most beautiful man I have ever had the privledge of sharing air with. He is my mentor my idol and my brother. His love for me, meant I was lovable, because his purity as a person was never to be questioned. His talents only matched by his kindness,I love him forever.”

Several of his other close friends and peers also took to social media to express their condolences, including Slug of Atmosphere, El-P, Blueprint, Dumbfoundead and B. Dolan.

Check out their reactions below.