Dennis Thomas, an original member of Kool and the Gang, has died at the age of 70, according to Deadline. He died in his sleep on Saturday in New Jersey in the township of Montclair, according to a spokesperson for Thomas. The spokesperson also put out a statement:
An original member of the fresh to death Kool and 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 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.”
No cause of death has been announced for the co-founder of Kool and the Gang.
Dennis Thomas’s Humble Beginnings
Thomas was born on February 9, 1951, in Orlando, Florida. He would later move to New Jersey where New Jersey brothers Robert “Kool” Bell and Ronald Bell formed Kool and the Gang back in 1964. Along with initial members George Brown, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, Ricky West, and the late Dennis”D.T.” Thomas.
It wouldn’t be until 1973 that the group would find major notoriety through their 4th studio album Wild and Peaceful. But it wouldn’t be until the 1980s that the Gang would see their most successful run with singles like Celebration, Ladies Night, and Get Down on It.
The group would go on to win numerous American Music Awards along with a handful of Grammys. The band has also been on soundtracks for popular films such as Pulp Fiction and Saturday Night Fever. In total, they have amassed 31 gold and platinum albums throughout their run and over 20 top 10 R&B hits.
Ronald “Khalis” Bell, another member, died back in September 2020. Dennis Thomas is survived by his wife, Phynjuar Saunders Thomas, and their boys David Thomas, Devin Thomas, and daughter Tuesday Rankin.