Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, longtime The Roots bassist, dies, age 62

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, longtime bass player in seminal hip-hop group The Roots, has died, age 62. 

The celebrated musician joined the outfit in 1992, when they were still called Square Roots, a year before their debut album arrived, ‘Organix’. Hub would help define the sound of early LPs like ‘Do You Want More?!!!??!’ and ‘Illadelph Halflife’, and last featured on the 2006 outing, ‘Game Theory’. In 2007 he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, which he tragically succumbed to on Thursday 16th December.

“It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard,” The Roots posted to Twitter. “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 was also responsible for arranging and co-writing a number of The Roots compositions, and played with the group live, including in support of JAY-Z at a now legendary MTV Unplugged concert, now available as an album. In 2008, 12 months after leaving the outfit due to health concerns, he rejoined them on stage at the annual Roots Picnic.

More recently, Hubbard believed a contract he entered into with The Roots meant he co-owned the band, resulting in a lawsuit against members Questlove and Black Thoughts, along with the manager. 

Having been in remission until last month, prior to his death Hubbard was compiling a new record involving Ben Harper and Vernon Reid, among others. According to a report in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Stephanie Hubbard, Hub’s wife, said the album was completed last week.

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