Kool & The Gang drummer and founding member George “Funky” Brown has died, his family announced Friday. He was 74.
“We lost our beloved husband and father, Kool & The Gang founding member George Brown last night,” read a statement provided by the family to ABC Audio. “He passed away peacefully at Long Beach Memorial Hospital surrounded by family. His incredible talent and presence will be greatly missed and never forgotten.”
Kool & The Gang also paid tribute to Brown on Facebook, calling him “the funkiest drummer the world has ever seen.” They added, “His beautiful soul is now at rest. We love you George. Thank you for giving us the sound of happiness.”
Brown formed Kool & The Gang in New Jersey in 1974 alongside brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Bell, Dennis “Dee Tee” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, Woodrow “Woody” Sparrow and Ricky West.
In addition to playing drums, Brown co-wrote many of the group’s biggest hits, including their number one classic “Celebration,” as well as “Ladies Night,” “Jungle Boogie,” “Get Down On It” and “Too Hot.”
Brown, the Bells brothers and Taylor were all inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018, and the group was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2015.
Although the lineup of Kool & The Gang has changed over the years, Brown was still performing with the group and was one of the longest serving members alongside Robert “Kool” Bell. Bell is now the last surviving founding member of the group.
Brown is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and his five children.
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