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Grand Master Flash, Nine Inch Nails Drummer Dies Of Undisclosed Illness

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Keith Leblanc

Keith Leblanc, who was a legendary hip-hop drummer that also played drums for the late 1980s and early 1990s rock band R.E.M., has reportedly tragically died at the age of 69. Leblanc truly made some amazing contributions to music throughout his illustrious career.

Leblanc played drums for the iconic hip-hop group the Sugarhill Gang, whose hit “Rapper’s Delight” is a timeless classic. Leblanc then played drums for Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’ for their debut studio album The Message.

The legendary drummer also played with the bands Ministry, R.E.M., Seal, and Annie Lennox. Leblanc’s record company On-U Sound released the following statement on his unfortunate passing,

All of us at On-U Sound are heartbroken to share the news that the great Keith LeBlanc has passed away,” read the statement. “Keith was a major, major talent ..incredible drummer, producer and musician.. Along with Doug, Skip and also dearly missed Mark Stewart we enjoyed some of the most creative times together that shaped my musical life. Thank you Brother Keith..Love Forever. Heart and Soul.

Vibe reports on his death,

Keith LeBlanc, a legendary drummer who worked with pioneering Hip-Hop group the Sugarhill Gang and iconic rock band R.E.M., has passed away at 69.

According to LeBlanc’s wife, Fran LeBlanc, the renowned percussionist died on Thursday (April 4) after succumbing to an undisclosed illness. Following his passing, On-U Sound, LeBlanc’s record label, released a statement announcing the news and noting his personal and professional impact.

A native of Bristol, Ct., LeBlanc got his start in the industry as a member of the house band for seminal rap group the Sugarhill Gang, the creators of the first crossover Hip-Hop record “Rapper’s Delight” during the early ’80s.

LeBlanc, along with bandmates Doug Wimbish and Skip “Little Axe” McDonald, would work with Sugar Hill Records during the label’s infancy, contributing to notable releases such as “Apache” and “8th Wonder.” In 1982, LeBlanc lent his musical skills to Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five’s debut studio album The Message, most notable on the standout cut “It’s Nasty”

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