R&B singer Kashif died over the weekend. He was 56.
The news comes unexpectedly and follows the death of another Black celebrity, actor Bill Nunn.
Individuals close to Kashif said he lived alone. Though a neighbor discovered him Monday, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office said he had been dead since Sunday.
No details about Kashif’s death have been confirmed, but reports say he seemed to have passed of natural causes.
Kashif had been working on new music before his death, according to EurWeb.
Additionally, the singer-songwriter’s family confirmed the news on his Twitter account.
It is with great sadness we the Family are confirming the passing of music legend Kashif in Los Angeles, CA. We will keep you updated.
— Kashif (@Kashifcreative) September 27, 2016
Kashif Saleem was born Michael Jones on Dec. 26, 1959. At the age of 15, he joined the funk group B.T. Express as a singer and keyboardist.
During that time, he discovered Islam and chose the name Kashif after resonating with its meaning: discoverer, inventor and magic maker, as he told RBMA Radio in February.
After leaving the group, he became known for introducing the synthesizer to R&B and writing and producing for artists such as Whitney Houston, Barry White, Evelyn “Champagne” King and George Benson, among others.
“I never really thought about it, I just did what I did,” he told RBMA of his trademark sound production. “I didn’t really sit down and say, ‘Okay, I want to make this my sound.’ I just made music, and when I started having hits, that sort of said to me, ‘Okay, maybe you should keep going in this direction.’ ”
As a singer, Kashif earned several Grammy nominations beginning with his self-titled debut album, released in 1983. He also sang with Meli’sa Morgan on their hit single, “Love Changes.”
In his later years, Kashif focused his work on teaching youth in foster care, authorship and activism.
Many shared their condolences with the hashtag #RIPKashif on Twitter.
J.I.R.T. shared a couple of classic hits Kashif created.
#RIPKashif gave us classic R&B hits from Whitney you give good love to Glenn jones show me. RIP
— J.I.R.T. (@tempesttbaggett) September 27, 2016
And Ash RA simply thanked the legend for his art.
#RIPKashif music thanks you for your art. ??
— Ash RA (@AshRAmusic) September 27, 2016
Meanwhile, Inga proclaimed Kashif the “master of music.”
MASTER of music.
We are losing all of our greats. #RIPKashif
— Inga (@sauvignonelle) September 27, 2016
And producer Jimmy Jam shared how much Kashif influenced him on Janet Jackson’s song “R&B Junkie.”
— Jimmy Jam (@flytetymejam) September 27, 2016
This story is still developing. Atlanta Black Star will share updates as they become available.