Dennis “D.T.” Thomas of “Kool and the Gang” group has died at the age of 70.
Dennis, a co-founder of the legendary soul-funk group “Kool and the Gang”, died on Saturday as announced by the group on their social media handle.
The official statement of his death made by the group read: “Thomas, beloved husband, father and a co-founder of Kool & the Gang, passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 70 in New Jersey.”
“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 demeanour,” the group added.
The statement also read: “Alto saxophone player, flutist, percussionist as well as master of ceremonies at the band’s shows,” he made his farewell appearance with the group on 4 July at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.”
The group lost another founding member, Ronald Bell, last year at the age of 64.
Kool and the Gang became a major smash in the 1970s, pumping out hits like Get down on it, Jungle Boogie, and Ladies’ Night, with its brassy funk putting it in a class with Earth, Wind and Fire, the Isley Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone.
Two brothers, Robert and Ronald Bell, along with their friends – Dennis Thomas, Robert Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky Westfield, founded the group in 1964 in New Jersey with the name “The Jazziacs”.
The long-running group fused jazz, soul funk, pop and rock music.
The group released their debut album ” Kool and the Gang” in 1969, while James J.T. Taylor joined the group in the late 70s.
Dennis D.T. Thomas would be remembered for his contributions to the group and as the group’s stylist.
Dennis D.T. Thomas was also the band’s budget hawk carrying the group’s earnings in a paper bag in the bell of his horn.
Kool and the Gang was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
The group remains a DJ favourite and its track is heavily sampled and appeared in songs by artists like Jay-Z, Nas, NWA, Tupac, The Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, A Tribe Called Quest and Busta Rhymes.