Kool & The Gang star dies aged 74

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By Asiya Ali

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George "Funky" Brown, the co-founder and long-time drummer of Kool & The Gang, has sadly died at age 74.

The legendary musician passed away "peacefully" at his home in Long Beach, California on Thursday (November 16), according to an emotional statement shared by his family.

The heartbreaking statement read: "We lost our beloved husband and father, Kool & The Gang founding member George Brown last night," as cited by PEOPLE.

"He passed away peacefully at Long Beach Memorial Hospital surrounded by family," they continued. "His incredible talent and presence will be greatly missed and never forgotten."

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George "Funky" Brown. Credit: Variety / Getty

Although a cause of death was not disclosed at this time, KCAL reported last month that Brown had stage 4 lung cancer.

The drummer's representative also issued their own tribute about the band's loss, penning: "Brown has co-written many of the band’s iconic songs, including ‘Ladies Night’, ‘Too Hot,’ ‘Jungle Boogie,’ ‘Celebration,’ and ‘Cherish.' When asked to describe his music, Brown always replied, 'The sound of happiness.'"

Tributes have now poured in for the late star on social media, with legendary icon Nile Rogers writing on X: "#RIPGeorgeBrown - Songwriters Hall of Fame, Kool & The Gang legendary drummer and friend. Heartfelt condolences go out to your family, friends, and the funk."

One fan also stated: "As I mentioned early this morning, George 'Funky' Brown from Kool and the Gang passed away last evening after battling cancer. He was the heart and soul of that famous song 'Celebration' so, come on and celebrate, it’s time to get together!"

A second user expressed: "His feel, groove & pocket was devastatingly FUNKY!!! He was a HUGE influence on us drummers who REALLY knew about George's drumming."

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Kool & The Gang. Credit: Richard E. Aaron / Getty

In 1964, Brown helped launch the Grammy-winning group - originally called the Jazziacs - along with bassist Robert "Kool" Bell, brother Ronald Bell on keyboards, and guitarist Charles Smith.

After years of relative obscurity, as well as name and personnel changes, Kool & The Gang rose to fame in the mid-1970s with 'Jungle Boogie' and 'Hollywood Swinging'.

They peaked in the late '70s-mid 1980s, with hit tracks ranging from the ballads 'Cherish' and 'Joanna' to the chart-topping song 'Celebration,' which has now become a standard at gatherings.

During Brown's nearly 50-year tenure with the band, the musician played drums, and keyboard and contributed backing vocals. He was also one of the group’s primary songwriters.

He contributed to the group's most recent album, People Just Wanna Have Fun which was released in July - despite battling cancer for three years.

In the same month, he published his memoir, Too Hot: Kool & the Gang & Me.

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Robert Kool Bell, Ronald Bell, and George Funky Brown with their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Credit: Variety / Getty

Brown retired from performing earlier this year due to his health decline.

He is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his five children.

In lieu of flowers, his family has requested that donations be made in his honor to the Lung Cancer Society of America.

Our thoughts are with Brown's family, friends, and fans at this time.

Featured image credit: Variety / Getty

Kool & The Gang star dies aged 74

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

George "Funky" Brown, the co-founder and long-time drummer of Kool & The Gang, has sadly died at age 74.

The legendary musician passed away "peacefully" at his home in Long Beach, California on Thursday (November 16), according to an emotional statement shared by his family.

The heartbreaking statement read: "We lost our beloved husband and father, Kool & The Gang founding member George Brown last night," as cited by PEOPLE.

"He passed away peacefully at Long Beach Memorial Hospital surrounded by family," they continued. "His incredible talent and presence will be greatly missed and never forgotten."

wp-image-1263237243 size-full
George "Funky" Brown. Credit: Variety / Getty

Although a cause of death was not disclosed at this time, KCAL reported last month that Brown had stage 4 lung cancer.

The drummer's representative also issued their own tribute about the band's loss, penning: "Brown has co-written many of the band’s iconic songs, including ‘Ladies Night’, ‘Too Hot,’ ‘Jungle Boogie,’ ‘Celebration,’ and ‘Cherish.' When asked to describe his music, Brown always replied, 'The sound of happiness.'"

Tributes have now poured in for the late star on social media, with legendary icon Nile Rogers writing on X: "#RIPGeorgeBrown - Songwriters Hall of Fame, Kool & The Gang legendary drummer and friend. Heartfelt condolences go out to your family, friends, and the funk."

One fan also stated: "As I mentioned early this morning, George 'Funky' Brown from Kool and the Gang passed away last evening after battling cancer. He was the heart and soul of that famous song 'Celebration' so, come on and celebrate, it’s time to get together!"

A second user expressed: "His feel, groove & pocket was devastatingly FUNKY!!! He was a HUGE influence on us drummers who REALLY knew about George's drumming."

wp-image-1263237244 size-full
Kool & The Gang. Credit: Richard E. Aaron / Getty

In 1964, Brown helped launch the Grammy-winning group - originally called the Jazziacs - along with bassist Robert "Kool" Bell, brother Ronald Bell on keyboards, and guitarist Charles Smith.

After years of relative obscurity, as well as name and personnel changes, Kool & The Gang rose to fame in the mid-1970s with 'Jungle Boogie' and 'Hollywood Swinging'.

They peaked in the late '70s-mid 1980s, with hit tracks ranging from the ballads 'Cherish' and 'Joanna' to the chart-topping song 'Celebration,' which has now become a standard at gatherings.

During Brown's nearly 50-year tenure with the band, the musician played drums, and keyboard and contributed backing vocals. He was also one of the group’s primary songwriters.

He contributed to the group's most recent album, People Just Wanna Have Fun which was released in July - despite battling cancer for three years.

In the same month, he published his memoir, Too Hot: Kool & the Gang & Me.

wp-image-1263237245 size-full
Robert Kool Bell, Ronald Bell, and George Funky Brown with their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Credit: Variety / Getty

Brown retired from performing earlier this year due to his health decline.

He is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his five children.

In lieu of flowers, his family has requested that donations be made in his honor to the Lung Cancer Society of America.

Our thoughts are with Brown's family, friends, and fans at this time.

Featured image credit: Variety / Getty