Tommy DeBarge, who rose to fame as a member of the R&B/funk band Switch, has died at 64. TMZ reports that the late artist had suffered from liver and kidney failure for several years, and recently took a turn for the worse that resulted in him passing away on Thursday.

“My dear brother Tommy finally made his transition after a lengthy illness,” little brother El DeBarge shared via Instagram earlier this week. “Tommy was a loving, gentle soul and a beloved son, husband, father, grandfather and one of the best brothers anyone could ever ask for.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CVVC0Y7l1zu

The “I Wanna Be Closer” singer was hospitalized a few weeks ago as his condition got worse, and he died while there. Tommy’s daughter, Marina DeBarge shared that her father had battled COVID earlier this year on top of his other ailments.

The article reveals that he “never complained about the pain and recovered from the virus.” Marina also shared that she spoke with her dad on Wednesday, the day before his death, and said that Tommy “fought till the end.”

The recently deceased was at his peak from the mid to late ‘70s as his band (also consisting of his brother Bobby DeBarge, Gregory Williams, Phillip Ingram, Eddie Fluellen, and Jody Sims) recorded hits like “I Call Your Name,” “Love Over & Over Again,” and “There’ll Never Be.”

Eventually, Tommy and Bobby’s younger siblings would go on to form a group of their own, called DeBarge. The brothers would go on to leave Switch and become full-time mentors to DeBarge until Bobby passed away due to AIDS-related complications in ‘95.

“Both my brothers Bobby and Tommy DeBarge are together now safely in the arms of our Lord Jesus Christ, though our hearts are still heavy as it will require some time to deal with the fact that he is gone and just missing him so much,” El wrote in his statement.

See the heartfelt tribute above. RIP Tommy DeBarge.

[Via]