Grant Hart, of pioneering indie rock band Husker Du, dies

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Grant Hart, the drummer and vocalist for pioneering indie rock band Husker Du, has died at age 56.

Ken Shipley, who runs the band's record label Numero Group, tells The Associated Press that Hart died Wednesday in Minnesota. Hart had been diagnosed with cancer.

Hart formed Husker Du with bassist Greg Norton and guitarist Bob Mould, with whom he shared singing duties, in St. Paul in 1978. The band began as a punk outfit before moving into alternative rock.

While it was never a huge commercial success, Husker Du was seen as a major influence on bands such as Nirvana, Green Day and the Pixies.

Mould writes on his Facebook page that Hart "was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician."

A tribute concert honoring Hart took place in Minneapolis in July.