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Bernie Worrell dies at 72

Bernie Worrell (AP photo)

Bernie Worrell (AP photo)

Bernie Worrell, the keyboardist and founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic known as the “Wizard of Woo,” died on Friday at the age of 72, according to his website.

“At 11:54, June 24, 2016, Bernie transitioned Home to The Great Spirit,” his wife, Judie Worrell, wrote on Facebook. “Rest in peace, my love – you definitely made the world a better place.”

Worrell’s death came less than six months after he revealed he was battling late-stage cancer.

A child prodigy who studied classical piano starting at age 3, Worrell rose to prominence in the 1970s as a member of George Clinton’s funk and soul collective Parliament-Funkadelic, co-writing and performing numerous hits that would have heavy influence on disco and R&B music.

Worrell was one of the first musicians to use the Moog synthesizer. He once said his classical music training helped him to use the synthesizer to great effect, according to a biography posted on his website.

“If I’m playing a horn arrangement on keyboard, or strings, it sounds like strings or horns, ‘cause I know how to phrase it, how a string phrases, different attacks from the aperture for horns, trumpets, sax or trombones,” he said. (Reuters)