The musician responsible for defining some of funk’s most important songs has passed away.
Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell has lost a battle to lung cancer at age 72, his wife confirms via his Facebook page. She had previously written a letter on June 16 revealing that he was in the late stages of his illness and very close to passing away.
Worrell and George Clinton founded Parliament-Funkadelic in the 1970s after Worrell left his original group Tavares to help Clinton mold his doo wop group Parliament into P-Funk. Worrell’s work with organs, synths and other electronic instruments was extremely influential. When the band split in the ’80s, he started to play with Talking Heads and appeared in their concert documentary Stop Making Sense.
More recently, Worrell had worked with Mos Def on his 2004 album The New Danger, worked on music with Prince Paul in 2011 and starred as Meryl Streep’s keyboardist in the 2015 film Ricky and the Flash.