Kool & the Gang member and co-founder Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell dead at 68
A cause of death for Bell, who died at his home in the US Virgin Islands, is not yet known
Kool & the Gang member and co-founder Ronald “Khalis” Bell has died at 68, his publicist confirmed on Wednesday.
Bell died at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday morning with his wife by his side, his publicist Sujata Murthy confirmed to ABC News. His cause of death is not yet known.
Co-founded with his brother Robert “Kool” Bell in the 1960s, Ronald Bell enjoyed massive success with the R&B and funk band Kool & the Gang, winning a Grammy Award and seven American Music Awards.
The band was honored with the Soul Train Award Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
Bell was a self-taught magician who used multiple instruments including the horn lines, bass and synthesizer. He also sang as a part of the musical group.
According to ABC, he wrote and composed some of Kool & the Gang’s biggest songs including “Celebration,” “Cherish,” “Jungle Boogie” and “Summer Madness.” “Summer Madness,” in particular, was used in several films including Baby Boy and Rocky. The song also appeared in a 2006 Nike commercial starring LeBron James. More recently, the song was sampled by singer Jhene Aiko for her song “Summer 2020.”
The musician was reportedly working on new material including a solo project, Kool Baby Brotha Band. Bell was also working on a series of animated shorts called Kool TV about his childhood with his brother and their storied career.
Bell is survived by his 10 children.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!