I am extremely sad to report that Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, the colorful and flamboyant lead singer for the Ohio Players, died yesterday at the age of 70.
UPDATE: In an official family statement released by Scott Hanover the family said, “Yesterday, Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner passed away quietly in his hometown of Trotwood-Dayton, OH. While his family, friends, colleagues, and fans mourn his passing they celebrate fondly his memory, music, and legacy.”
The statement continued, “Humble yet charismatic, soft spoken and of few words, the weight of his thoughts, lyrics, and music has influenced countless other artists, songs, and trends. He will be missed but not forgotten as his legacy and music lives on. More details and an official historical perspective of his career will soon be forthcoming.
His Facebook page is available to all to post comments, reflections, and testimonials of this wonderful and gifted man: https://www.facebook.com/sugarfootsohioplayers.”
The Ohio Players were originally formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, and were known as the Ohio Untouchables. After a brief breakup the band regrouped in 1963 adding Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner on lead guitar and eventually he went on to front the band.
The band’s first big hit single was “Funky Worm”, reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and made the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1973, selling over one million copies.
The band had seven Top 40 hits between 1973 and 1976 including, “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster” and “Who’d She Coo?”
Recently the master of funk brought the Ohio Players to Thunder Valley Casino Resort (read review). Sugarfoot was helped onstage and appeared frail. However, backstage he was jovial and very friendly to the staff and fans as they lined up to meet the ‘70s icon.