Leonard "Hub" Hubbard, Former Bassist for the Roots, Dead at 62

The musician died at a Philadelphia hospital on Thursday, following a years-long battle with cancer. Tributes for Hub have been shared on social media.

Hub (Leonard Nelson Hubbard) of The Roots performs

Image via Getty/Pete Mitchell/WireImage

Hub (Leonard Nelson Hubbard) of The Roots performs

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, the longtime bass player for The Roots, died Thursday in Philadelphia at age 62.

The musician’s wife, Stephanie Hubbard, confirmed the tragic news to the ABC affiliate WPVI, saying the cause of death was was multiple myeloma—a form of blood cancer he had been battling since 2007. Stephanie told the network her husband had been energetic and mobile throughout most of Wednesday, but suddenly couldn’t move once the evening came. She said she then took Hubbard to Lankenau Hospital that night, but wasn’t allowed to stay because of COVID-19 restrictions. Hours later, she received a phone call stating her husband had died.

“I was called to the hospital. They told me what had happened that he had passed,” she recalled. “I went to the hospital and was able to sit with him.”

Hubbard was diagnosed with the cancer in the same year he left The Roots. He had joined the collective in 1992 when it was known as the “Square Roots.” He appeared on six of the group’s studio albums, including Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), Things Fall Apart (1999), and Game Theory (2006). 

The Philly native, who studied classical music at Carnegie Mellon University, spoke about his departure from in a 2007 interview with Inquirer.

“They didn’t know me from Adam,” he told the publication. “Ahmir (“Questlove” Thompson) told me to take a solo, and when he saw that I was a virtuoso, he was like ‘Oh, man, keep playing, keep playing.’”

Despite his cancer diagnosis, Hubbard remained active in the music industry, composing work for artists like Jill Scott, Ben Harper, Vernon Reid, and Jeff “Tain” Watts. Stephanie said he had also completed an album just last week.

“He wanted to be known for the type of music he was composing,” she said. “And before he died, he was sitting there at night listening to the music, and he was so happy with it.”

It’s unclear when, if ever, the project will get an official release.

You can read some of the tributes for Hubbard below.

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