It is with a heavy heart that I report Ronald “Khalis” Bell, co-founder of the legendary band, Kool & The Gang, passed away on Wednesday, September 9 at his home in the Virgin Islands.
He was 68.
The cause of Khalis’ death has not been revealed.
Bell was a driving force behind Kool & the Gang, composing, arranging, producing and performing with the group which saw success in multiple decades over 50 years. In addition to the aforementioned earworms of our time, other hits by the band included “Get Down On It,” “Joanna” and “Fresh.”
In 1964, Bell and his brother Robert “Kool” formed a band with Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown, and Ricky West. They went through several iterations as the Jazziacs, The New Dimensions, The Soul Town Band, Kool & the Flames before Kool & the Gang was launched blending jazz, soul and funk sounds.
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Ronald “Khalis” Bell is survived by 10 children, Kahdijah, Rasheed, Nadirah, Liza, Maryam, Aminah, Jennah, Khalis, Asia and James; grandchildren; brothers Robert “Kool” Bell, Wahid Bayyan, Amir Bayyan and sister Sharifah Bayyan; and his wife Tia Sinclair Bell.
My sincerest condolences and prayers to the Bell family and all who knew and loved Khalis.