Music

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

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.”

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

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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