The Gap Band Founder Ronnie Wilson Dead at 73

He passed away peacefully at home.

Ronnie Wilson, a founder of the legendary R&B and funk group The Gap Band, has died. He was 73.

“The love of my life was called home this morning, at 10:01am,” Wilson’s wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, confirmed Tuesday (Oct. 2) in a Facebook post, asking his fans to pray for the family while they mourn his death.

“Ronnie Wilson was a genius with creating, producing, and playing the flugelhorn, Trumpet, keyboards, and singing music, from childhood to his early seventies,” she added. “He will be truly missed!!!”

BET SOUL  will air Gap Band videos in tribute to Ronnie Wilson and his contributions to American soul music.

Wilson died peacefully at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with Linda holding his hand, TMZ reported. The musician, who was the older brother of “Uncle” Charlie Wilson, suffered a stroke last week that put him in a semi-comma from which he never recovered.

In his condolences to the family and Wilson’s “legion of fans,” Donnie Simpson, the longtime host of BET’s Video Soul, recalled that Wilson and his brothers “put the funk down for a long time.”

According to Rolling Stone, Wilson formed The Gap Band in the mid-1970s with his brothers Charlie and Robert. The band's name was an acronym for Greenwood, Archer, and Pine streets, in recognition of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and the neighborhood where they grew up.

The band signed with Mercury Records in 1979 and soon recorded hit singles, including “I Don’t Believe You Want to Get Up and Dance (Oops!),” “Burn Rubber on Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me),” and most notably 1982’s Gap Band IV, which featured the hits “Early in the Morning,” “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” and “Outstanding.”

RELATED: Charlie Wilson: Road to the BET Awards 2013

They remained prolific through the 1990s. The group dissolved after Robert Wilson’s death from a heart attack in 2010, but Charlie moved on to have a successful solo career.

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