UPDATE: Okayplayer.com has confirmed that Rich Nichols passed away Thursday (July 17) at 3:05 p.m. EST after a battle with leukemia.
An official statement "from those who worked closely with him" is expected to be released soon, the site says.
Rich Nichols, musician, producer and longtime manager for the Roots, is gravely ill. Conflicting reports state that Nichols passed away, while a source told BET.com that the musician was taken off of life support, but is still alive.
The story began circulating online sometime Wednesday (July 16), with Roots drummer Questlove taking to Instagram to post a text message about Nichols captioned, "Sharing Memories." A commenter on Quest's Instagram page claiming to be Nichols's niece wrote yesterday, "My uncle is not dead. He is sick, but is still with us. So please, place your energy towards prayers for his wife and sons and family. Thank you."
In a tweet this afternoon, Quest shared that he was going through a "heavy time."
Other comments came from the likes of 9th Wonder, Talib Kweli, Phonte, of Little Brother, and Jill Scott, who tweeted last night, "Enduring respect for a brilliant, extraordinary MAN, Rich Nichols. Peace is yours."
Nichols managed the Roots for over a decade and earned production credits on the majority of their albums. In an interview with SPIN last year, Quest noted how Nichols helped him pen his memoir, Mo' Meta Blues. "I'm still very uncomfortable telling this story, even though it's my story," Quest said of the book. "I'm used to the jury system that we've always had in the Roots and only when I started infusing Rich's stuff did I start to feel comfortable. With his stuff, I felt I wasn't leaving this out or making it too one-sided."
Nichols's input appears throughout Mo' Meta Blues as footnotes.
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(Photo: Patrick McMullen)