Black Business

George ‘Funky’ Brown Of Kool & The Gang Has Died At 74

George 'Funky' Brown

Brown passed away surrounded by his family in his Los Angeles home on the night of Nov. 16.

The lead drummer and one of the founding members of the band Kool & The Gang, George “Funky” Brown died on Nov. 16 in his Los Angeles home. He was 74 years old.

Brown, according to TMZ, passed away after a long fought battle with stage-4 cancer. He was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago and fortunately recovered enough to convince touring with his band mates. Unfortunately, he suffered a related health complication and was setback earlier this year when his lung cancer returned.

Brown was open about his battle with the disease and its toll on him with various news outlets. His spokesperson, family, and friends asked for a donation to be made in Brown’s honor to the Lung Cancer Society of America. 

Brown has a 59-year long career as songwriter and drummer for the iconic funk band. A representative for Brown told the outlet, “George Brown died Nov. 16, 2023, in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. Brown has co-written many of the band’s iconic songs, including ‘Ladies Night,’ ‘Too Hot,’ ‘Jungle Boogie,’ ‘Celebration,’ and ‘Cherish.’ When asked to describe his music, Brown always replied, ‘The sound of happiness.’”

Brown is survived by Hanh Brown, his wife, and his five kids.

Kool & The Gang was formed in 1964 in Jersey City, New Jersey, it included members Robert Bell on bass and keyboards, Dennis Thomas on saxophone, Robert Mickens on the trumpet, Ricky West on keyboards, and Charles Smith as a guitarist. The band was pushed into popularity in 1973 when they released their fourth record, “Wild And Peaceful,” and it includes one of their most successful songs, “Hollywood Swinging.” They continued to release another line of hits in the following years like “Ladies Night” (1979), “Celebrate!,”  “Emergency,” and they sold over 2 million albums in the United States. 

The group sold a whopping 2 million albums in the U.S. 

Kool & The Gang has been recognized on a national level with 2 Grammy Awards, 7 American Music Awards, a Music Business Association Chairman’s Award, a Soul Train Legend Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

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