Kool & The Gang co-founder, Ronald Bell dead at 68

Ronald “Khalis” Bell, the co-founder of legendary music group Kool & the Gang, has died at the age of 68.

His publicist Sujata Murthy confirmed the news in a statement to the New York Post, stating Bell had died Wednesday at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands with his wife, Tia Sinclair Bell, by his side. The cause of death has not been revealed.

Bell and his brother Robert “Kool” Bell formed a jazz instrumental group called the Jazziacs in the mid-1960s. The group would expand into other genres in the following years, eventually becoming the funk/soul band Kool & and the Gang. The outfit released their self-titled debut album in 1970 and would go on to deliver a number of classic like “Cherish,” “Summer Madness,” “Get Down on It,” “Jungle Boogie,” and their biggest hit, “Celebration.”

During his time with Kool & the Gang, Bell received a number of awards, including two Grammys, the Soul Train Legend Award, and seven American Music Awards. He and his fellow members were also inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame as well as the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Bell is survived by his wife, 10 children, grandchildren, as well as his brothers—Robert “Kool— Bell, Wahid Bayyan, and Amir Bayyan—and his sister, Sharifah Bayyan.

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