On Wednesday morning, December 23rd, John “Ecstasy” Fletcher of pioneering hip hop group, Whodini, died.
Roots drummer, Questlove, was the first to pay homage to the rap legend in a social media post. Said Questlove: “One love to Ecstasy of the legendary #Whodini. This man was a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man.”
The passing of Fletcher comes as a shock to his family. His brother, Douglas Fletcher, told TMZ his death was unexpected. According to Douglas, John, who was living in Atlanta, was healthy, athletic and worked out regularly in the gym. His family also says John was awake Wednesday morning and talking to people, before he stopped breathing.
The cause of Fletcher’s death has not been determined.
Fletcher, who was known for rocking a Zorro hat, co-founded Whodini in Brooklyn with Jalil Hutchins in 1982, before DJ Grandmaster Dee joined them in 1986.
Whodini was signed to Jive Records, and managed by Russell Simmons and Kurtis Blow. Their group was among the first to mix rap with rock, and the first to perform live with b-boy dancers.
The trio was known for hit singles like “Friends,” “Freaks Come Out at Night,” “Magic’s Wand” and “The Haunted House of Rock.” Their songs were featured in Ice Cube‘s film, Friday. “Freaks Come Out at Night” and “Friends” were the most sampled songs in hip-hop, by over 150 artists including Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Tupac and Nas.