LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ronald “Khalis” Bell, co-founder and lead singer of the group Kool & the Gang, has passed away. He was 68.
Bell died Wednesday morning at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands with his wife by his side, publicist Sujata Murthy said. The cause of death has not been disclosed.
Kool & the Gang grew from jazz roots in the 1960s to one of the most important groups of the 1970s, mixing jazz, funk, R&B and pop. After a brief recession, the group returned to stardom in the 1980s.
The group won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever”.
Bell wrote and composed some of the group’s greatest songs, including ‘Celebration’, ‘Cherish’, ‘Jungle Boogie’ and ‘Summer Madness’, which were used in several films, including ‘Rocky’ and ‘Baby Boy’. The number was also used in a Nike shoe ad featuring LeBron James.