Leonard Hubbard, the bass player who played with acclaimed Hip-Hop band The Roots for more than 15 years, died Wednesday (December 15) at Lankenau Hospital in Philadelphia. He was 62. Hubbard’s step-daughter India Owens confirmed the news. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, which he was first diagnosed with in 2007.
According to Owens, Hubbard was in remission until last month.
He joined the Roots in 1992, just before they landed their first record deal with and moved to London to record and release their debut album, Organix. Hubbard would play on some of the group's most acclaimed work, albums like Do You Want More?!!!??!, Illadelph Halflife, Things Fall Apart, Phrenology, The Tipping Point and more. It was announced in August 2007 that Hubbard was departing the Roots.
Known as "Hub" and for his trademark chewstick, his cancer diagnosis was that same year. In 2003, Hub spoke to Bass Player magazine about the art of Hip-Hop bass.
"Even bassists who listen to hip-hop sometimes don’t understand the discipline," he said. "Because once they get onstage and start feeling it, they think, The faster I play, the more exciting! But playing hip-hop is a different discipline. It’s all about listening, understanding the pocket, and knowing your place in it."