Fans Pay Tribute After Kool & The Gang Co-Founder Dennis Thomas Passes Away

Dennis Thomas

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The world of music is mourning after fans learned that Kool & The Gang Co-Founder Dennis Thomas passed away at 70 years old. The Montclair, New Jersey resident reportedly died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday evening.

"An original member of Kool & the Gang, Dennis was known as the quintessential cool cat in the group, loved for his hip clothes and hats, and his laid-back demeanor," a statement from the group reads.

"A huge personality while also an extremely private person, Dennis was the alto saxophone player, flutist, percussionist as well as master of ceremonies at the band's shows. Dennis' prologue featured on the group's 1971 hit, 'Who's Gonna Take the Weight' is legendary and an example of his showmanship."

In 1964, Thomas co-founded the Jazziacs with Ronald Bell, Robert "Kool" Bell, Spike Mickens, Ricky Westfield, George Brown and Charles Smith. Five years later, the group changed its name to Kool & The Gang and released its debut album. Over the next five decades, the group would release 25 albums and more than a dozen compilation projects. Adding on, the group recorded five live albums as well. Above all else, the group would cement itself in music history with timeless hits like "Celebration," "Ladies Night" and "Jungle Boogie." Not to mention, their work has been used in several classic movies like Rocky and Pulp Fiction. Surprisingly, the group only received two GRAMMY Awards for their work, but they emerged victorious seven times at the American Music Awards.

Thomas leaves behind his wife, Phynjuar Saunders Thomas, and his children, Tuesday Rankin, David Thomas and Devin Thomas. Funeral arrangements will be made in the coming days.

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