Music fans are mourning the death of Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, former bassist for The Roots.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hubbard’s passing was confirmed by his wife. He died from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. He was first diagnosed in 2007, and had been in remission until last month.
The Roots posted the band’s condolences on its Twitter page.
“It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard. May your transition bring peace to your family to your friends to your fans and all of those who loved you. Rest in Melody Hub.”
Hubbard joined the group in 1992, when it was still the Square Roots. He played on every album until he left the band in 2007.
He first performed with the band, which included Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, in 1992 at Old City Coffee.
“They didn’t know me from Adam,” Hubbard told The Inquirer in 2007. “Ahmir told me to take a solo,” he said, “and when he saw that I was a virtuoso, he was like, ‘Oh, man, keep playing, keep playing.’”
Before his death he was able to complete the album The Awakening, on which he worked with artists like Jill Scott, Ben Harper, Vernon Reid, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and the Philadelphia singers Lady Alma and Jaguar Wright.
“He wanted to be known for the type of music he was composing,” his wife said. “And before he died, he was sitting there at night listening to the music, and he was so happy with it.”
A virtuoso, Hubbard began playing bass in fourth grade, learning from his older brother’s John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix albums. He took private lessons at Settlement Music School and studied classical music at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.
“In 2016, Mr. Hubbard filed a lawsuit against Thompson, Trotter, and Roots manager Shawn Gee claiming he was owed money as a founding shareholder of The Roots.” His wife says the suit has not been settled.
He is survived by his wife Stephanie, stepdaughters India Owens and Onita Owens and stepson Edward Owens.