Funk legend Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner has died at 69. Bonner who helped make Dayton the Land of Funk, died Saturday following a battle with cancer in Trotwood, according to an “Official Family Annoucement” posted Sunday on his Facebook page. Bonner, whose career spanned 56 years, died just shy of his 70th birthday, according to the post. “While his family, friends, colleagues, and fans mourn his passing they celebrate fondly his memory, music and legacy,” the posting stated.
The Hamilton native was the lead singer and guitarist of the Ohio Players since he joined the band in 1971.
“He was a great person with a lot of wisdom not just in music, but in life,” said Keith Harrison of the bands FAZE-O and the Dazz Band. “He was a great person with a lot of wisdom not just in music, but in life.”
Dayton musician Ronald Frost, a friend of Bonner’s, said that Bonner will be remembered for his kindness and heart. “He was one of the nicest people I have ever met,” Frost said.
“He was a good friend of my dad’s,” Frost said. Frost’s father, keyboardist Ronald Nooks , is also a member of the Ohio Players.
Based in Dayton, the Ohio Players rocketed onto the international stage in the 1970s with string of funk hits, including “Fire,” “Skin Tight” and “Love Rollercoaster.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.