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Kool & The Gang Co-Founder Ronald Bell Dead At 68

Kool & The Gang Co-Founder Ronald Bell Dead At 68

Kool & The Gang Co-Founder Ronald Bell Dead At 68
Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

Ronald Bell served as the group’s principal composer and arranger.

Ronald Bell, the co-founder of the funk group Kool & the Gang, has passed away at the age of 68. The news of Bell’s death was shared via a statement from his publicist, according to Spin. No cause of death was revealed; the statement said Bell died “suddenly” at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Bell formed Kool & the Gang along with his brother Robert, and friends Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith in 1964. Initially, the group was known as the Jazziacs, before settling on the name Kool & the Gang in 1969. As the group’s principal composer and arranger, Bell wrote and produced a number of the band’s most popular songs, including “Celebration,” “Jungle Boogie,” and “Summer Madness.”

Man. This hurts. I mean everything hurts but to lose Khalis Bayyan (fka Ronald Bell—brother of Robert Kool) his brother Kool May have been the band’s anchor & muscle but I consider KB to be the heart of this powerhouse unit,” Questlove wrote on Instagram in regards to Bell’s passing. “…If you love the sound of (1988-2000) era hip hop was your bag then you too will be effected by this loss. Condolences to the entire @koolandthegang family & loved ones. Rest in Beats brother.”

 

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Man. This hurts. I mean everything hurts but to lose Khalis Bayyan (fka Ronald Bell—brother of Robert Kool) his brother Kool May have been the band’s anchor & muscle but I consider KB to be the heart of this powerhouse unit. The stories he told me—-were so mind blowing. They were the original music metamorphosis mob: to come in the game as jazz snobs, & accidentally conduct the train of funk (making fun of “Soul Makossa” paid off in “Jungle Boogie”) then to bring new life to disco w those complex jazz arrangements in “Open Sesame”—-& the risk it all like a mofo & go pop the right way (the “Celebration” story is one for the record books) by bringing James “JT” Taylor to the front was always what the doctor ordered (they caught some flack…..but I understood & it worked) only to go full circle & have hip hop embrace it from the gate and REINTRODUCE the first two stages under a new filter to a new generation. If you love the sound of (1988-2000) era hip hop was your bag then you too will be effected by this loss. Condolences to the entire @koolandthegang family & loved ones. Rest in Beats brother.

A post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

Other fans have also reacted to Bell’s passing on social media.

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