The longtime manager of acclaimed hip-hop group The Roots has died.
Rumours surfaced on Wednesday July 16 suggesting Richard Nichols had died following a long illness, but his musician pal Jon Pinder cleared up the reports on Thursday morning, revealing he was still alive but was nearing the end.
In a post on Facebook, he wrote, "Rich Nichols... is fading and it's just a matter of time before he leaves us".
However, Nichols lost his battle with leukaemia hours later.
His death has been confirmed on The Roots' Okayplayer website, with the band calling him "the guiding spirit behind the group".
A number of stars have taken to Twitter.com to pay tribute to the music manager, with hip-hop veteran Talib Kweli writing, "Rest in peace to one of the greatest men I've ever met, Rich Nichols".
R&B singer Jill Scott added, "Enduring respect for a brilliant, extraordinary MAN... Peace is yours", while rapper Phonte tweeted, "RIP to my man Rich Nichols. The lessons he taught me both in and out of the studio were priceless. Rest easy, good brother", and producer 9th Wonder posted, "Rest In Peace, and Power".
The Roots, fronted by drummer Questlove, also expressed their thanks to fans for their messages of support on Thursday, writing, "Much respect and gratitude to all who have expressed your condolences and shared memories of RichNichols. We thank you".
Nichols began his music career as a jazz radio DJ before signing on as The Roots' manager in 1991.
He executive produced all of the band's albums, including its latest release, ...and then you shoot your cousin.
He also worked as a producer for the likes of Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Al Green, Erykah Badu, Common and Sly and the Family Stone.