The musician behind hits like "Celebration" and "Ladies Night" was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year.
George "Funky" Brown, the longtime drummer and co-founding member of the genre-blending band Kool & the Gang, died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 74.
A representative for the band confirmed the news to EW on Friday and provided a statement from Brown's family that said, "We lost our beloved husband and father, Kool & The Gang founding member George Brown last night. He passed away peacefully at Long Beach Memorial Hospital surrounded by family. His incredible talent and presence will be greatly missed and never forgotten."
The band also paid tribute to Brown on social media, posting a photo of him and writing, "In loving memory of our dear brother, co-founder and the funkiest drummer the world has ever seen. His beautiful soul is now at rest. We love you, George. Thank you for giving us the sound of happiness."
Brown was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year. His diagnosis led him to retire nearly 60 years after forming Kool & the Gang in New Jersey with brothers Robert "Kool" Bell and Ronald Bell, Dennis "Dee Tee" Thomas, Robert "Spike" Mickens, Charles Smith, Woodrow "Woody" Sparrow, and Ricky West.
Over the past six decades, the group has sold millions of records and won two Grammys with an upbeat blend of jazz, funk, R&B, and soul.
In addition to playing drums, Brown wrote many of the band's biggest hits, including "Celebration," "Ladies Night," "Jungle Boogie," "Get Down on It," and "Too Hot." He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018, and Kool & the Gang were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2015. Robert Bell is now the last surviving founding member of the group.
Brown produced Kool & the Gang's most recent album, People Just Wanna Have Fun, which was released earlier this year, as was his memoir, Too Hot: Kool & the Gang & Me.
He is survived by his wife, Hanh Brown, and five children.
Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.