Ronald Bell: Kool & the Gang co-founder and writer of 'Celebration' dies aged 68

Ronald Bell: Kool & the Gang co-founder and writer of 'Celebration' dies aged 68

Ronald “Khalis” Bell, co-founder of Kool & the Gang, has died aged 68.

The music legend died on Wednesday at his home in the US Virgin Islands with his wife by his side, his publicist Sujata Murthy said.

Mr Bell co-founded Kool & the Gang in New Jersey in 1964 with his brother, Robert “Kool” Bell, along with neighbourhood friends Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky West.t

The band grew from jazz roots in the 1960s to become one of the biggest groups of the 1970s, blending jazz, funk, R&B and pop.

Mr Bell wrote some of the group’s best-known songs, including party staple Celebration, Cherish, Jungle Boogie and Summer Madness.

The band won the album of the year Grammy in 1978 for their work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

They are also one of the most sampled artists of all time, with the horns from their 1973 funky jam Jungle Boogie featuring on hundreds of other songs.

In 2015, Kool & the Gang were honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Mr Bell was working on a series of collaborations including a solo endeavour, “Kool Baby Brotha Band.”

He also planned to put together a series of animated shorts called “Kool TV” about their childhood and career.

Mr Bell is survived by 10 children.

Ms Murthy said the service for Mr Bell will be private.