Kool & The Gang Drummer George “Funky” Brown Passes Away, Aged 74

18 November 2023 | 9:15 am | Mary Varvaris

Earlier this year, George Brown produced the group’s latest album and released a memoir, 'Too Hot: Kool & The Gang & Me'.

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Kool & The Gang (Credit: KTFA Entertainment)

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Kool & The Gang co-founder and drummer GeorgeFunkyBrown has passed away at the age of 74, Pitchfork reports.

TMZ indicated that the musician had been living with cancer, but his family didn’t detail an illness in their statement. Universal Music revealed that Brown was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer earlier this year in a statement to ABC 7 Chicago.

Brown passed away on 16 November. “We lost our beloved husband and father, Kool & The Gang founding member George Brown, last night,” his family shared in a statement. “He passed away peacefully at Long Beach Memorial Hospital surrounded by family. His incredible talent and presence will be greatly missed and never forgotten.”

Brown co-founded Kool & The Gang in 1964 and went on to pen hits such as Celebration, Ladies’ Night, Joanna, Too Hot and many more.

The funk, R&B, soul and disco group have received numerous accolades throughout the years, including Grammy Awards and American Music Awards. They stand with giants in the New Jersey Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame, hold a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2018, band members Robert KoolBell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and James JTTaylor were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Earlier this year, Brown produced the group’s latest album, People Just Wanna Have Fun, and released a memoir, Too Hot: Kool & The Gang & Me. 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of Kool & The Gang.

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People Just Wanna Have Fun was the band’s first album since founding member Ronald 'Khalis' Bell passed away, aged 68, in 2020.

“You’ve got the funk, you’ve got the jazzier tracks, we have a few ballads on there,” Robert Bell commented about the band’s 34th album. “Then there are songs that cross over to a pop sort of thing. We go from the ‘70s, the ‘80s, right into now. It’s old school, it’s new school — we kinda captured it all here. With all our music over the years, people have had fun. So I’d say this album just about sums it all up.”