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The Roots bassist Leonard ‘Hub’ Hubbard dies at 62

Leonard "Hub" Hubbard, a former longtime bassist of hip-hop band The Roots, has died at the age of 62, the group said Thursday.

"It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard," the Philadelphia -based band said in a statement posted to its official Twitter account.

"May your transition bring peace to your family to your friends to your fans and all of those who loved you," it said, adding: "Rest in Melody Hub."

Hubbard, known to fans simply as "Hub," died Thursday after living with blood cancer for years, his wife, Stephanie Hubbard, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

She said his death was related to a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, which she said he was first diagnosed with in 2007. The musician had been in remission until last month, she said. 

Speaking with ​Philadelphia’s ABC 6, which was the first to report the news of Hubbard's death, Stephanie Hubbard said she had taken her husband to the Lankenau Medical Center, a hospital in Wynnewood, west of Philadelphia, on Wednesday night after he was suddenly unable to move despite being energetic the day before. 

She said she was unable to stay with him, however, due to Covid-19 regulations and received the news of his death the next day.

"I was called to the hospital. They told me what had happened, that he had passed. I went to the hospital and was able to sit with him," she said.  

Hubbard recorded seven albums with The Roots, including the band's debut album, Organix, released in 1993. He exited in 2007 following his cancer diagnosis.

In 2016, he filed a lawsuit against some of The Roots’ members alleging that he was not paid adequately despite signing a contract that he said made him co-owner of the band. His wife told ABC 6 that battle was still ongoing.

Following his diagnosis, Stephanie Hubbard told the Inquirer that her husband had wanted to focus on his work as a composer and put together an album of recordings of songs he wrote music for with a number of fellow artists, including Ben Harper, Jill Scott, Jeff "Tain" Watts and others. She said he completed the album last week.

“He wanted to be known for the type of music he was composing,” she told the newspaper. “And before he died, he was sitting there at night listening to the music, and he was so happy with it.”

Hubbard's death comes after a fellow founding member of The Roots died in July 2020.

Malik Abdul Basit, who was more widely known as Malik B., died at the age of 47, with The Roots saying the world had lost "one of the most gifted MCs of all time."

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