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Clifford Adams, Kool & the Gang Trombonist, Dead at 62

The uninsured musician had battled liver cancer for over a year

Clifford Adams, trombonist for iconic American jazz-funk group Kool & the Gang, died on Monday morning after a year-long battle with liver cancer, according to NJ.com. He was 62.

The musician, hospitalized at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, N.J., had been without health insurance to cover medical expenses for quite some time, according to the reports. His family and friends threw several fundraisers in recent months to help cover the cost of Adams’ live transplant. They had also received support from a nonprofit organization called Jazz Bridge, which was created to help out local musicians.

“Clifford Adams was a marvelous musician, an important musician, not only in the Philadelphia-Trenton area but both nationally and the world,” Suzanne Cloud, executive director and co-founder of Jazz Bridge, said in a statement.

Kool & the Gang trumpeter Michael Ray also mourned the loss of his band mate. “This was my closest and my oldest friend,” he said to NJ.com. “If you knew Cliff, you knew his infectious smile and his strong spirit… He was powered by family values and he was one of the baddest trombone players in all the planet.”

Kool & the Gang have sold over 70 million albums since the Jersey-based band was formed in 1964. A few of their most notable hits over the decades include “Celebration,” “Get Down on It” and “Ladies Night.”

In addition to playing trombone with Kool & the Gang, Adams also played in several other bands and with several other notable musicians, including Duke Ellington, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells and The Stylistics. He also released two solo albums, “The Master Power” and “I Feel Your Spirit.”