John Fletcher – aka Ecstasy, a founding member of Whodini – has reportedly died at the age of 56.
Questlove broke the news of the rapper’s death on Instagram earlier today (December 23). The cause of death has been made public at the time of writing.
“One Love to Ecstasy of the Legendary #Whodini,” he wrote. “This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop. This is sad man.”
Fletcher formed the rap trio with Jalil Hutchins in Brooklyn in 1982, filling out the line-up with J Grandmaster Dee (aka Drew Carter) in 1986. Together, they released six albums, including their self-titled 1983 debut and 1987’s ‘Open Sesame’.
Whodini were credited with leading the way for new jack swing and scored their biggest hits with the tracks ‘Friends’, ‘Five Minutes Of Funk’, ‘One Love’ and ‘Funky Beat’. Their single ‘Magic’s Wand’ was also the first rap single to be accompanied by a video.
The group were recognised for their contribution to hip-hop with numerous awards during their career, including at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honours and, most recently in 2018, at the Third Black Music Honours.
Tributes have begun to be paid for Ecstasy online. “RIP to Ecstasy from Whodini,” wrote Q-Tip. “One of the most under appreciated voices in hip hop. Too many hits! Condolences to his fam.”
“My God, this one hurts me so bad, I can’t even believe I’m posting this,” Jermaine Dupri said. “Ex you know I love you. Thank you for every word, every conversation, every good time. May your soul Rest In Power.”
LL Cool J added that Ecstasy was “one of the most important people in this culture to me”. “I can’t believe you’re gone,” he wrote on Instagram. “My friend. Exstasy rest in power.”
See those and more tributes below.