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Ronald 'Khalis' Bell, Kool & the Gang co-founder, dead at 68

Singer Ronald Bell of Kool & the Gang performs in Basel, Switzerland, in November 2002. Ronald Bell has died at the age of 68. File Photo by Markus Stuecklin/EPA
Singer Ronald Bell of Kool & the Gang performs in Basel, Switzerland, in November 2002. Ronald Bell has died at the age of 68. File Photo by Markus Stuecklin/EPA

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Ronald 'Khalis' Bell, the co-founder of jazz, soul and funk band Kool & the Gang, has died at the age of 68.

Ronald Bell died Wednesday inside his U.S. Virgin Islands home with his wife Tia Sinclair Bell by his side, the band's publicist Sujata Murthty has confirmed.

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A cause of death was not announced.

Ronald Bell and his brother Robert 'Kool' Bell formed the band in 1964 by teaming up with neighborhood friends Dennis 'D.T." Thomas, Robert 'Spike' Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky West. The group was first called the Jazziacs before Kool & the Gang was officially launched in 1969.

Kool & the Gang have sold more than 70 million albums worldwide with 31 of the releases going gold or platinum. The band received the 2,560th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

Ronald Bell co-wrote hits for Kool & the Gang including "Jungle Boogie," "Ladies Night," Celebration," "Summer Madness," "Get Down On It," and more.

Ronald Bell was last working on a solo album titled Kool Baby Brotha Band and a series of animated shorts titled Kool TV about the group's childhood and career.

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Ronald Bell is survived by his wife and 10 children, Kahdijah, Rasheed, Nadirah, Liza, Maryam, Aminah, Jennah, Khalis, Asia and James.

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