Bernie Worrell performing April 23, 2016, in New Orleans
Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Bernie Worrell, the man behind the keyboard and one of the founding members of Parliament-Funkadelic, died Friday at the age of 72 after a battle with lung cancer.

Worrell's family informed his fans of his death on Facebook.


It was Worrell's Minimoog synthesizer that gave Parliament its funkadelic sound. The New Jersey native was considered a child piano prodigy and studied at Juilliard in New York City. Worrell met George Clinton in the 1970s, and the two went on to make music history. After group members went their separate ways in the '80s, Worrell continued his music career with the Talking Heads.

Worrell was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in January 2016, and just this past April, a benefit was held for Worrell, and the stars came out to celebrate his life and music. Everyone from Meryl Streep to Clinton and Bootsy Collins was in attendance. According to, performers included Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads; Sarah Dash of LaBelle; Fred Schneider of the B-52s; Living Colour; the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra; Marc Ribler; Rick Springfield; Leo Nocentelli of the Funky Meters; Questlove of the Roots; and Jon Batiste.

Although Worrell was ailing, it never stopped him from playing music. His last appearance was in April at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.


RIP, Bernie Worrell.