My dad was a huge Velvet Underground and Lou Reed fan, and as such I've inherited a lot of love and music. I've never been big on VU, but I'm very partial to his solo albums. "Transformer" is an all-time great album. I'll be playing "Magic and Loss" this afternoon, one of my favorite albums as well. One of rock and roll's unique voices, and it's a shame that he's gone.
While I can't say his passing is a shock, exactly (in fact, that he lived as long as he did is sort of amazing), the fact of it is no less gutting. He was an incredible talent, hugely influential, and someone whose music was an integral part of my youth. Sad news.
Among rock bands that completely tanked during their years together, the Velvet Underground must be the single most influential of all of these. I'm not sure if there is another that comes within light years of their sales-to-influence ratio.