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

Loading the player...

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.

Read More: College football player Jamain Stephens, 20, dies from COVID-19

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.

Robert Kool Bell and Ronald Bell, of Kool & The Gang arrive at Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation’s Angel Ball 2017 at Cipriani Wall Street on October 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation For Cancer Research )
Dennis Thomas, James “JT” Taylor, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, and George Brown of Kool & The Gang pose with their awards backstage during the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame)

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.”

Read More: John Thompson, Hall of Fame basketball coach who led Georgetown to title, dead at 78

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!

Loading the player...
Share: