Kool & The Gang founder Ronald Bell dies aged 68

Image caption

Ronald Bell (R) with brother and fellow band member Robert in 2014

Ronald Bell – one of the founder members of the soul-funk band Kool & the Gang – has died at the age of 68.

He started the band with his brother Robert “Kool” Bell.

The band’s songs were huge hits in the 1970s and 1980s, and included Celebration, Ladies’ Night and Jungle Boogie.

Their music also featured in several films, including Saturday Night Fever for which they received a Grammy in 1978, and Pulp Fiction.

Bell died at his home in the US Virgin Islands, with his wife by his side, his publicist said. The cause of death was not given.

A self-taught saxophonist and singer, he founded the band in New Jersey in 1964 along with Robert, as well as Dennis Thomas, Robert Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky West.

The band is best-known for its fusion of jazz with funk, disco, R&B and pop.

“My favourite song is Celebration…” Ronald Bell told Reuters news agency in 2008.

“I had no clue, you know, I was clueless, thinking that that was going to be a hit. I had no idea.

“But after all these years, there are times at the end of the show, when I see all of these people singing a song, and after all of an hour and a half, you ask them to jump up and down and they still jump up and down. That’s kind of overwhelming for me.”

The group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015 for their contribution to the world of entertainment.

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