Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell, co-founder of Kool & the Gang, deceased at 68

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Kool & the Gang co-founder and singer Ronald “Khalis” Bell is dead. He was 68 years old.

Bell died in the U.S. Virgin Islands at his home Wednesday morning with his wife by his side, journalist Sujata Murthy said.

No information regarding his cause of death has been released.

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Kool & the Gang went from the roots of jazz in the 1960s to one of the main groups of the 1970s. They mixed jazz, funk, R&B and pop. After a brief slowdown, the group enjoyed a comeback in the 1980s.

Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell of Kool & the Gang has died aged 68 (Photo by Roy Rochlin / Getty Images)

The band’s hits include “Get Down on It”, “Celebration”, “Jungle Boogie”, “Cherish” and more.

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The group won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever”. Their song “Open Sesame” was featured on the iconic album.

FILE - Robert 'Kool' Bell, from left, Ronald 'Khalis' Bell, Dennis 'DT' Thomas and George Brown attend a ceremony honoring Kool & The Gang with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 8 2015, in Los Angeles.  (Photo by Rich Fury / Invision / AP, FILE)

FILE – Robert ‘Kool’ Bell, from left, Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell, Dennis ‘DT’ Thomas and George Brown attend a ceremony honoring Kool & The Gang with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 8 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rich Fury / Invision / AP, FILE)

Their song “Summer Madness” has been used in several films including “Rocky” and “Baby Boy”. The success was also used in a Nike shoe commercial featuring LeBron James.

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Bell started the band with his brother Robert “Kool” Bell with neighborhood friends Dennis “DT” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky West.

In addition to his wife, Bell is survived by 10 children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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