Ronnie Wilson, the older brother of “Uncle” Charlie Wilson as well as a co-founder and one-third of the legendary Gap Band, has died.
Wilson passed away at his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday. His wife, Linda Boulware-Wilson, said her husband died peacefully as he held her hand before he drew his final breath. He was 73 years old.
Ronnie Wilson suffered a stroke last week, and it placed him into a semi-coma from which he never recovered. He had previously suffered several strokes throughout the years as his health went in decline.
“The love of my life was called home this morning, at 10:01am,” Linda wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “Please continue to pray for The Wilson, Boulware, and Collins family, while we mourn his passing. Ronnie Wilson was a genius with creating, producing, and playing the flugelhorn, Trumpet, keyboards, and singing music, from childhood to his early seventies. He will be truly missed!!!”
Ronnie formed the Gap Band with his brothers Charlie and Robert in the early 1970s in their hometown of Tulsa, mixing the city’s known history regarding the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre with timeless funk music. Big singles such as “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” alluded to the massacre while the legendary group scored other fan classics, including “Yearning For Your Love,” “Outstanding,” “Early In The Morning,” “Burn Rubber On Me” and many more.
Condolences poured in across social media after fans learned of Ronnie Wilson’s untimely death.
Ronnie Wilson is preceded in death by his brother Robert, who died in 2010 of a heart attack at age 53. Robert Wilson provided the bass backbone for the trio.
“My brother Robert was a bad boy on the bass,” Charlie Wilson said of Robert at the time. “We shared a bond as brothers, musicians and friends. I loved him and losing him is difficult for both Ronnie and I. The music world has lost a very talented man.”
One year before that, Bishop Oscar W. Wilson, the father of the funkadelic brotherly trio, died from complications resulting from prostate cancer.
The loss of Ronnie Wilson follows the death of fellow funk musician Dennis “Dee Tee” Smith, a co-founder of the legendary group Kool & The Gang. Smith died in August. He was 70 years old.