Ronald “Khalis” Bell, a co-founder and singer of the band group, Kool & the Gang, has died at the age of 68.
Bell died at his home in the US Virgin Islands Wednesday morning, September 10 with his wife Tia Sinclair Bell by his side, publicist Sujata Murthy said. The cause of death has not been released.
In 1964, Bell and his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, joined their neighborhood friends Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West to form a musical group. They were first known as the Jazziacs, before settling for Kool and the Gang.
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The group formed in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1964, went to become one of the major groups of the 1970s, blending jazz, funk, R&B, and pop. They won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever.
Bell co-wrote many of the group’s biggest hits, including “Ladies Night,” “Jungle Boogie,” the band’s No. 1 hit “Celebration” and “Summer Madness,” which was used in several films, including “Rocky.” The song was also used in a Nike shoe commercial in 2006 featuring LeBron James.
He is survived by his wife Tia Sinclair Bel and 10 children: Kahdijah, Rasheed, Nadirah, Liza, Maryam, Aminah, Jennah, Khalis, Asia, and James Bell.