Dee Pop, the longtime drummer and fixture in downtown New York, has died after a long illness, according to friends and family. He was 65.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved Dee,” his daughter, Veronica Pop, said in a post on Facebook. “My father was not just a drummer but someone who loved love, life, and all things good.”
Known for his soft, gentle style and steel drum ability, Dee Pop, whose given name was Edward Luciano Popolo, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 with his Jazz-funk group Above Average.
Born and raised in Brooklyn’s Liberty Plaza, Dee Pop’s style was highly influenced by his love of classic funk, jazz and R&B, as well as the band’s sonic expansion as a trio.
Pop’s musicianship remained with him after taking a drumming job with the downtown hip hop group Freestyle Love Supreme during the 1980s, and he returned to the scene for the 1992 film “Stand and Deliver.”
Fellow drummer John McFee commented on Pop’s death in a Facebook post, saying he was “deeply saddened to learn the news of Dee’s passing.”
“He was a dear friend, we played together in the So Solid Band,” McFee said. “We talked last night and he spoke to me directly, before passing away. I just want to thank all of you for your support on the past several years of Above Average and in the Jazzfire and Freestyle Quest Trios. I am so proud to have had him as a brother and mentor.”
Pop’s drummer daughter also thanked fans for their condolences.
“I want to thank all the fans for the wonderful memories of my father,” Pop said. “I am overwhelmed with love from everyone who’s written or contacted me today. It has been truly incredible and I hope to use the positive energy to continue to spread love to the world.”
Fox News’ Anita Vogel contributed to this report.