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R&B Group Switch Co-Founder Tommy Debarge Dead at 64

Photo Credit: Facebook 
Tommy Debarge, who along with his brother Bobby founded the 1970s R&B group Switch which found success with Billboard R&B Chart Top 10 hits "There'll Never Be", "I Call Your Name", and "Love Over & Over Again" — and was an early influence on the eponymously named family supergroup, Debarge,  is dead at the age of 64.

His mother Etterlene Debarge acknowledged the death of the artist, who reportedly has battled kidney and liver failure for years, in a short Facebook post. 

“Tommy has gained his wings,” she captioned a photo of Debarge playing his guitar in front of a cloudy sky. Adding later in another post, "Thomas DeBarge is resting with his big brother, Bobby Debarge now, peacefully, making heavenly music suitable for the angels up high."

TMZ was the first to break the news. The website reported that Debarge died on Oct. 21, following a short hospitalization after his health had declined in recent weeks. His daughter Marina Reeves, who spoke to him the night before he died, revealed that Debarge had also battled Covid-19 earlier in the year.

She shared a touching tribute of her own on her Facebook page following his passing:

My Daddy was transitioning this time yesterday. While I was getting new tires to go see him.  I pray it was so smooth and peaceful. I pray Mommy, Uncle Bobby, Uncle Andre, Mama Brenda, and Dontae, and all of our loved ones met him in paradise. Wednesday morning in my prayer and meditation time I seen them all. Him and Uncle Bobby sat on the edge of a cliff swinging their legs like kids. Then, they took a leap. Uncle Bobby had Daddy’s hand because he didn’t know what he was doing but Uncle Bobby taught Daddy how to fly and they flew off. Daddy is with his friend in the sky. I’m at peace with that. He was so tired. He fought so damn hard. Literally until the end. My Daddy. Ooooh I loved him so. The memories are pouring in today. Ones I forgot all about. 💔🥺 I’m still coming Daddy. I gotchu. I honored him this long and I will until the very end.

Tommy and Bobby left Switch and Motown Records in the early eighties in order to mentor their younger siblings in Debarge. The group enjoyed tremendous success throughout the decade, but the family's infamous struggles with drug addiction, drug trafficking, and interpersonal issues eventually led to Debarge disbanding in 1989. Bobby died of AIDS-related complications in 1995.

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