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Leonard ‘Hub' Hubbard, Founding Member of The Roots, Dead at 62


Fourteen years after departing the group in 2007 due to a multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer) diagnosis, Leonard Hubbard, a founding member of the Grammy-winning hip-hop group The Roots, has lost his battle with the disease.

Hubbard, better known by his sobriquet “Hub,” died at the age of 62 Thursday. His wife Stephanie told Philadelphia’s ABC 6 that after being in remission until last month, Hubbard’s health took a drastic turn Wednesday night.

Hubbard found himself immobile after being energetic the days before. Stephanie dropped him off for treatment at Lankenau Hospital but could not stay with him due to Covid restrictions. She was informed of his passing the next day.

"I was called to the hospital. They told me what had happened that he had passed. I went to the hospital and was able to sit with him," she told ABC 6, noting that her husband, who had decided to focus on his work as a composer after he left the group, had just finished a major project titled “The Awakening” the previous week.

"He wanted to be known for the type of music he was composing," she said. "And before he died, he was sitting there at night listening to the music, and he was so happy with it,” Stephanie said. “When you hear his project, you'll see he was so much more than what people know.”

Following the news The Root’s Twitter account posted a tribute to Hubbard, who along with Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Malik “Malik B.” Abdul Basit were the original lineup for the seminal hip-hop group.

"It's with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard," the post read. "May your transition bring peace to your family to your friends to your fans and all of those who loved you. Rest in Melody Hub."

Hubbard’s tenure with the group began in 1992 and lasted 15 years. His bass guitar anchored the signature sound of the band. He played on all their releases during this time including the classics “Things Fall Apart” and “The Tipping Point.”

This is the second death of a founding member of The Roots. Malik B. died in July 2020; a cause of death was not released.

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