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The Gap Band Co-Founder Ronnie Wilson Dead At 73

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TULSA, OK (CelebrityAccess) — Ronnie Wilson, R&B vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and co-founder of the funk and R&B group the Gap Band, died on Tuesday. He was 73.

His passing was announced on social media by his wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson: “The love of my life was called home this morning, at 10:01am. Please continue to pray for The Wilson, Boulware, and Collins family, while we mourn his passing. Ronnie Wilson was a genius with creating, producing, and playing the flugelhorn, Trumpet, keyboards, and singing music, from childhood to his early seventies. He will be truly missed!!”

According to TMZ, Wilson was hospitalized and comatose after suffering a stroke last week that left him in “semi-coma” which he never recovered from.

Wilson co-founded the Gap Band with his two brothers Charlie and Robert in the early 1970s, naming the group for three streets in their hometown of Tulsa – Greenwood, Archer, and Pine – which were the focal point of the infamous Tulsa Massacre in 1921.

The Gap Band earned its first big break after being recruited by Leon Russell to serve as his backing band for his album All That Jazz released in 1974.

However, their funk-heavy early albums initially failed to strike a chord with fans, and they didn’t break through on the charts until 1979’s The Gap Band, propelled by songs such as “I’m in Love” and “Shake.”

Their next few albums continued to sell records and chart, including The Gap Band VI, which landed at #1 on the R&B charts but failed to go gold and they scored their last charting hit in 1989 with “All of My Love.”

The group reunited in 1996 and released a live greatest hits album but officially dissolved in 2010 after Robert Wilson died after suffering a heart attack.

In 2006, Wilson relocated to San Antonio after his wife was hired at the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church and he became part of the music ministry at Community Bible Church after joining the group in 2007.

After Robert’s death in 2011, Ronnie recounted his struggles with drug addiction and turned to faith, crediting a drug dealer with helping him reconnect with the Pentacostal religion of his youth.

“Yesterday, I was a drug addict, alcoholic, womanizer and adulterer,” Wilson told the San Antonio Express-News in 2011. “If you want to see who I really am, you have to go back one more day, past yesterday.”

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