Ronald “Khalis” Bell, a co-founder and singer of Kool & the Gang who also wrote some of the group’s biggest hits, has died Wednesday morning at age 68. Bell died at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to publicist Sujata Murthy. No cause of death was released.
Kool & the Gang was formed in 1964 in Jersey City, NJ, by brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald “Khalis” Bell. They were joined by Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West. The band released its debut album in 1970 and became one of the big acts of the decade, powered by hits like “Jungle Boogie” and Hollywood Swingin’ and “Celebration.”
The group won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever, which has sold more than 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. Kool & the Gang’s song “Open Sesame” also was featured in the movie.
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