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Kool & the Gang co-founder and singer, Ronald “Khalis” Bell, is dead. He was 68.
Bell passed away in the U.S. Virgin Islands at his home on Wednesday morning with his wife by his side, publicist Sujata Murthy said.
No information regarding his cause of death has been released.
Kool & the Gang grew from jazz roots in the 1960s to become one of the major groups of the 1970s. They blended jazz, funk, R&B and pop. After a brief downturn, the group enjoyed a return to stardom in the 1980s.
Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell of Kool & the Gang has died at the age of 68. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
The group's hits include "Get Down on It," "Celebration," "Jungle Boogie," "Cherish" and more.
The group won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever.” Their song "Open Sesame" was featured on the iconic album.
FILE – Robert ‘Kool’ Bell, from left, Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell, Dennis ‘DT’ Thomas and George Brown attend a ceremony honoring Kool & The Gang with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, FILE)
Their song "Summer Madness" was used in several films including “Rocky” and “Baby Boy." The hit was also used in a Nike shoe commercial featuring LeBron James.
Bell started the group with his brother Robert “Kool” Bell along with neighborhood friends Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky West.
In addition to his wife, Bell is survived by 10 children.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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