UPDATE: The Roots have released this official statement on the passing of Rich Nichols:
“The Roots Family are devastated to announce the passing of Richard Nichols, the band’s longtime manager, after a long battle with leukemia. Nichols, 55, a Philadelphia native, managed the band from its inception in 1992, and was instrumental in every aspect of The Roots’ creative, cultural, and professional life over the past two decades. Nichols is survived by his wife, Mercedes Martinez, his sons Amiri Nichols and Rakim Nichols, his sisters Rochelle Nichols-Solomon, Rebecca Dennis, his brothers Russell Nichols and Reginald Nichols, and the many individuals and artists he mentored in his lifetime.”
Okayplayer is deeply saddened to confirm the news that our friend, mentor and The Roots‘ manager Rich Nichols passed away this afternoon at 3:05pm, after a battle with leukemia. Rich was in so many ways the guiding spirit behind the group and certainly of Okayplayer itself, a role that could never even begin to be captured by the word “manager” and even as I type it, it feels like a slight to his true legacy and–we do not use the word lightly–genius.
Although it will take us some time and reflection to pay Rich proper tribute, an official statement from those who worked closely with him should be forthcoming soon. Until that time, our thoughts go out to his family and our thanks go to all those who have expressed condolences and shared memories of Rich. Rich’s constant creative energy deeply impacted many, many people in his community and the industry at large and we encourage artists, friends and others whose lives were touched by Rich to share their favorite memories and stories with us on twitter via @okayplayer and on OKP’s facebook page.
In the office we have been playing the last track on The Roots’ latest album …and then you shoot your cousin; “Tomorrow” featuring Raheem DeVaughn, which somehow feels like a fitting homegoing anthem. While it plays, we will console ourselves with the thought–echoing Rich’s own existentialist and yet deeply moral worldview–that for one such as Rich Nichols…god ain’t ready.