*Former Parliament-Funkadelic member Calvin Simon has died at age 79. His cause of death has not been reported.
His passing was confirmed by fellow artist Bootsy Collins, who wrote on Instagram on Friday (Jan. 7): “We lost another Original member of Parliament/Funkadelic. A friend, bandmate & a cool classic guy, Mr. Calvin Simon was a former member of Parliament/Funkadelic. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen members of P-Funk! R.I.P Bootsy baby!!!”
“Rest in peace to my P-Funk brother Mr. Calvin Simon,” a post on George Clinton‘s Facebook page said. “Longtime Parliament-Funkadelic vocalist. Fly on Calvin!”
On Saturday, a post on Simon’s official Facebook page stated: “[Thanks] everyone for the wonderful memories… we will so miss you Calvin… but love the thought that heaven just got a bit funkier,” the post reads.
As reported by Billboard, in 2004, Simon was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer.
“Initially it was a shock, as it took my voice away,” Simon recalled in an excerpt posted on his website. “It was while I was preparing for a tour to promote my first Christian album, Share the News (which had just reached No. 21 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart) when I realized there was a problem. Since the cancer was in the thyroid against my vocal cords, I was certain my music career was over and at this point I walked away from music. Apparently God had other plans and had enough forethought to know I needed to be home at that time.”
Here’s more about the late musician from Billboard:
Born in 1942 in West Virginia, where he sang with his church choir, Simon relocated to New Jersey with his family as a teen. He worked as a barber, and by the late 1950s, Simon joined the group originally known as the Parliaments, first formed as a doo-wop quintet with fellow barbers George Clinton and Grady Thomas and customers Ray Davis and Fuzzy Haskins. Simon, who was drafted in 1967 to serve in Vietman, went on to sing with the group that later became known as Parliament-Funkadelic. He eventually parted ways with the group due to financial disputes.
Prince inducted the members of Parliament-Funkadelic into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
In 2019, the band received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy.