Following an extended battle with cancer, Leonard Hubbard, known affectionately as Hub, of The Roots has died at age 62.
The news was confirmed by his stepdaughter, India Owens. Hubbard died from multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. The longtime bassist was diagnosed with the disease back in 2007—the same year he left the band. His wife, Stephanie, told Philadelphia’s ABC 6, that he was hospitalized Wednesday night (Dec. 15) at Lankenau Hospital. Prior to his passing, he was “energetic and mobile,” but it was reported he suddenly couldn’t move. “It happened quickly,” she explained. “He didn’t suffer a lot.” Unable to stay overnight due to COVID protocols, she was able to sit with him during his final moments.
At the time of his passing, Hub was also reportedly working on a personal project and had just completed a composition titled “The Awakening.”
Born Leonard Nelson Hubbard in Philly, he joined the Hip-Hop band in 1992, alongside founding members: Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and Malik B, who preceded Hub in death. Hub was part of The Roots for 15 years. In 2016, the Grammy winner sued his bandmates, Black Thought and Questlove, and their manager, Shawn Gee, claiming he wasn’t properly compensated from a deal that named him co-owner of the band prior to his diagnosis. This occurred one year before The Roots became Jimmy Fallon’s in-house band on The Tonight Show. According to his wife, the lawsuit had never been settled.
The band did pay tribute to Hub on Instagram. “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard,” reads the caption. “May your transition bring peace to your family to your friends to your fans and all of those who loved you. Rest in Melody Hub”.
Outside of his work with The Roots, Hub also scored Bertha Bay-Sa Pan’s 2002 indie film Face and the 2006 documentary, Darfur Diaries: Message From Home.