Richard Nichols, the man who transformed The Roots from a Philly act into a national TV mainstay as the house band for both Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night and Tonight Show, has died after a long battle with leukemia. He was 56 years old.
On the Roots’ website, the group called Nichols, who had managed the Roots since the early ’90s and also produced several of their albums, “the guiding spirit behind the group.”
The Roots also issued the following statement:
The Roots Family are devastated to announce the passing of Richard Nichols, the band’s longtime manager, after a long battle with leukemia. Nichols, 55, a Philadelphia native, managed the band from its inception in 1992, and was instrumental in every aspect of The Roots’ creative, cultural, and professional life over the past two decades. Nichols is survived by his wife, Mercedes Martinez, his sons Amiri Nichols and Rakim Nichols, his sisters Rochelle Nichols-Solomon, Rebecca Dennis, his brothers Russell Nichols and Reginald Nichols, and the many individuals and artists he mentored in his lifetime.