Since the late 60s, Mancuso has been lauded as a selector, but his founding of the Loft on February 14, 1970 placed him at the forefront of New York's burgeoning underground club scene. Unlike the commercial clubs that existed at the time, Mancuso's Loft parties were private, providing a space for its members—often queer people—to dance without the threat of police interference. Over the decades of its existence, the Loft, and Mancuso at the center of them, became a hub for New York music, inspiring the many decades of DJs and parties that'd be thrown across the five boroughs in its wake.
A rare interview with Red Bull Music Academy in 2013 credited Mancuso with the inspiring, in part, the rise of DJing as a legitimate art form in its own right, and the Loft's audiophile approach to live sound no doubt inspired many of the pristine systems that have filled the world's best clubs ever since.
DJs across the world have already taken to social media to mourn the loss of, as Beats in Space's Tim Sweeney put it, "the original New York disco DJ."
RIP David Mancuso. The original New York disco DJ.
— Tim Sweeney (@BISradio)November 15, 2016
The cause of death has not been made public at press time.
David Mancuso gave the Loft to the world as a celebration of music w a spirit of inclusivity & was all about the BEST version of humanity
— Hercules Love Affair (@HerculesLA)November 15, 2016
RIP David Mancuso. every DJ ever was in his shadow.
— Junior Boys (@Juniorboys)November 15, 2016
Damn RIP David Mancuso ?
— AFTER HOURS (@JubileeDJ)November 15, 2016
Wow. RIP David Mancuso. 2016 is playing no games.
— Just Blaze (@JustBlaze)November 15, 2016
RIP David Mancuso i saw him a couple of times years ago on the Respect boat DJing barefoot on a rug that would always set a nice mood
— Teki Latex (@TekiLatex)November 15, 2016