Dennis Thomas, one of the founders of the funk band Kool & the Gang in the 70s and 80s, has died at the age of 70.

The group said in a Facebook statement that it had died “in its peaceful sleep” in New Jersey on Saturday.

Described as the “real cat” of the group, he is a saxophonist, rehearsals, drummer, and chief performer at the show.

The group became one of the most popular and influential artists of the time with festivals such as Festival and Loss.

Their music has also been featured in several films, including Saturday Night Fever, which won a Grammy in 1978, as well as Pulp Fiction.

• BBC Music: Kool & the Gang

Thomas was one of the founders of the group, founded in 1964 with Robert “Kool” Bell, his brother Ronald, who died last year, as well as four other students.

His work is divided into two parts. In the early 1970s, they got American music and comedy like Jungle Boogie and Hollywood Swinging.

Then, with singer James “JT” Taylor in 1979, they became a successful R&B team and achieved the great commercial success of their careers on their 20th anniversary.

They performed well in the 1980s, performing with hit singles such as Joanna and Cherish, as well as Steppin ‘Out, Get down on it, which was their most listened to song on Spotify at the Festival.

The group received a star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015 for their contribution to showcase the business and introduced it to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.