It is with great sadness that we report that John Fletcher, one third of the ’80s Brooklyn-based hip-hop trio Whodini, has died at the age of 56.
Fletcher’s family shared the news of his passing on Wednesday in a statement sent to Billboard:
The African and Native American ancestors have gathered around and chosen this day, during the Winter Solstice, Dec 23rd, 2020 to call upon a most endeared, generous, and sincere soul who graced The World’s heart through performance, hip-hop, family, children and grandchildren. John ‘Ecstasy’ Fletcher was a beloved man, the life partner to Deltonia and ex-husband to Carla, twin brother to Joseph, artist, friend, and lifetime performing partner to the Legendary Jalil of Whodini. Whodini set a hip-hop course of legendary status that we are all sure to pass on to our grandchildren. Please send love and prayers to our family, and with open hearts we ask the ancestors to cover his soul in peace and tranquility. Play his music if it moves you, and know he’ll be hearing you on his way home this day, Dec 23rd.”
The news of Fletcher’s passing sent shockwaves throughout the hip-hop and broader music community. The Roots’ Questlove was the first to break the news, writing on social media, “One Love to Ecstasy of the Legendary #Whodini. This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man.”
Other hip-hop greats such as Little Brother’s Phonte, rapper Chuck D, Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, and Jermaine Dupri all paid tribute, expressed gratitude and shared memories of the musical giant.
Fletcher, along with vocalist Jalil Hutchins and Grandmaster Dee formed the ’80s rap group Whodini, rising quickly to stardom and achieving significant success. Whodini’s sound has often been credited as the blueprint for the New Jack Swing era, with songs like “Friends,” “Freaks Come Out at Night,” and “Five Minutes of Funk” becoming major hits.
“One Love to one of Hip Hop’s Greatest! There will never be another,” wrote Hutchins.
There was no official word on a cause of death.