Seymour Stein, whose Sire Records launched Madonna’s career and signed such early punk rock and new wave icons as the Ramones and Talking Heads, died Sunday morning in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer, his daughter Mandy confirms to Variety. He was 80. 

Though Stein’s imprint, which he co-founded in New York in 1966, enjoyed major-label distribution, he approached the record business with an independent’s zeal, and took a multitude of risks on unproven, often underground talent that paid off on the charts. Depeche Mode, Ice-T, Lou Reed, the Pretenders, the Smiths, the Cure, Seal, the Replacements, Aphex Twin and many more artists released some of their greatest music on Sire, whether via a direct signing or a licensing deal. A well-curated mixtape of Sire releases from the ‘80s and ‘90s is like the soundtrack to an era.

Read more at Variety