The Roots’ Leonard ‘Hub’ Hubbard Dies of Cancer

by Jhanaya Belle

December 17, 2021

Photo by: Pete Mitchell/Contributor

Another tragedy has struck the hip-hop community. After a long battle with blood cancer, Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, Grammy Award-winning bassist and founding member of the hip-hop group The Roots, died. He was 62.

Stephanie Hubbard, Hubbard’s wife, announced the musician’s death to ABC 6 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her husband had been battling cancer for over a decade, she disclosed. His health, however, took an unforeseen turn on Dec. 15.

Photo by: Paul Bergen/Contributor

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

The widow continued.

“It happened quickly. He didn’t suffer a lot.”

In 2017, Hub was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Multiple myeloma is cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Cancerous plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications.”

The Roots released a statement regarding the tragic news.

“It’s with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard,” The Roots’ Twitter account stated. “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.”

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Many musicians and fans sent their thoughts and prayers on social media.

“God Bless Leonard ‘Hub’ Hubbard and his family,” one Twitter user wrote.

The Twitter user continued.

“I remember going to see The Roots at @MetroChicago “Illadelph Halflife” dropped. I watched Hub do the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ on his bass and it it blew me away. The best Root show I have been to.”

Hub’s death came just over a year after another founding member, Malik B., passed away.

Hub joined The Roots in 1992 but left after being diagnosed with cancer. He released seven albums with the band and made two guest appearances with them after his departure.

Photo by: Theo Wargo/Staff

Hub’s business relationship with the group began to fall apart in 2016 after he launched a legal action against members of the group. Which included Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and manager Shawn Gee, alleging that he was owed money as a founding stakeholder. His wife told the outlet that their lawsuit was still pending.

Hubbard was survived by his wife Stephanie, and two stepdaughters India Owens, Onita Owens, and stepson Edward Owens.

Our condolences goes out to The Hubbard’s loved ones at this time. 

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