George 'Funky' Brown

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

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 succumbing to stage-4 cancer. He was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago and recovered enough to tour with his band mates. Unfortunately, he suffered a related health complication and was set back earlier this year when his lung cancer returned.

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

Brown had 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 children.

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 on guitar. The band achieved widespread popularity in 1973 with the release of their fourth record, Wild And Peaceful, which included one of their most successful songs, “Hollywood Swinging.” They released a string of hits in the following years, including “Ladies Night,” “Celebrate!,” and “Emergency,” selling over 2 million albums in the United States. 

Kool & The Gang won two Grammys, seven 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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