Lists Recaps Reviews Interviews Explainers

Ronnie Wilson, The Gap Band founder, dies age 73

The Gap Band attend a red carpet event
Ronnie Wilson (left) attended a red carpet event with his brothers, with who he founded The Gap Band in the 70s. Pic credit: ©

Ronnie Wilson, a founding member of The Gap Band and brother of Charlie Wilson, dies at age 73.

His wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, released a statement on Facebook following the R&B legend’s death.

“The love of my life was called home this morning at 10:01 am. Please continue to pray for The Wilson, Boulware, and Collins family while we mourn his passing.”

Linda praises her husband’s talents as a musician in the tribute, adding:

“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!”

His also wife confirmed his death to TMZ, telling the publication he died peacefully at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Ronnie reportedly went into a semi-coma as a result of a stroke he suffered last week.

Ronnie was a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist that wrote many of the group’s records.

The Gap Band was a very influential R&B group

The legendary band consisted of Charlie, Ronnie, and Robert Wilson. They were an R&B and funk band that rose to fame in the late ’70s.

Their album The Gap Band III achieved a platinum certification supported by #1 R&B single Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

Despite achieving most of their success in the ’70s and ’80s, the Gap Band is one of the most sampled R&B groups.

Some artists who have sampled their music include Ashanti, Mary J. Blige, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Tina Turner, George Michael, Jermaine Dupri, and Tyler the Creator.

Charlie Wilson is the only living member following Ronnie’s death. Robert Wilson died of a heart attack at his home in California in 2010 at age 53.

Tributes pour in for Ronnie Wilson

Due to his success as a solo artist, Charlie Wilson is the best-known member of The Gap Band. However, Ronnie’s talent did not go unnoticed as tributes poured in across social media.

On Twitter, a supporter of the band lamented the deaths of Charlie’s brothers and their early success.  

“RIP Ronnie Wilson. Two-thirds of the Gap Band has left us (Robert passed in 2010). I know Charlie has gotten a lot of recent love, but just remember that the Gap Band had some heaters [sic]!”

A fan shared throwback photos of the late Ronnie Wilson.

According to the Gap Band website, the group sold millions of records with four platinum-certified albums.

In addition, their song Outstanding is one of the most sampled songs in history, with over 150 artists using the song, including Madonna and Will Smith

Just last month, the R&B world suffered another tragedy when Emani Johnson, aka Emani 22, lost her life in a hit-and-run in Los Angeles. She was 22 years old.

Ronnie Wilson, a multi-instrumentalist and one-third of The Gap Band, has died at age 73. He is one of the most sampled R&B artists in history

More: , ,
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments