Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, longtime bassist for the Roots, dies aged 62

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard
(Image credit: Paul Bergen/Redferns)

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, longtime bass guitar player and founding member of Philadelphia hip-hop outfit the Roots, has died aged 62.

As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hubbard's passing was confirmed by his wife Stephanie, who revealed the cause of his death to be multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer with which he was diagnosed in 2007. Despite being in remission up until last month, Hubbard was hospitalized on Wednesday (December 15), she revealed, adding that his decline in health “happened quickly”. 

Posting to social media earlier today (December 17), the Roots paid tribute to their former bandmate. “It's with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our brother Leonard Nelson Hubbard,” the band wrote. “May your transition bring peace to your family, to your friends, to your fans and all of those who loved you.”

Hubbard's tenure with The Roots lasted from 1992 until 2007. He joined shortly before the band released their debut album, 1993's Organix, and appeared on six other albums before his departure: Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), Illadelph Halflife (1996), Things Fall Apart (1999), Phrenology (2002), The Tipping Point (2004) and Game Theory (2006).

Following his departure in 2007 owing to his cancer diagnosis, Hubbard continued to make scattered appearances with the band, including their Roots Picnic festivals in 2008 and 2010.

Hubbard later sued his former Roots bandmates in 2016, claiming his contract with the band made him a co-owner and he wasn't compensated accordingly. The lawsuit is yet to be settled.

According to Stephanie Hubbard's comments to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Leonard Hubbard had recently been putting together an album of recordings under his own name, which he composed with artists including Jill Scott, Ben Harper, Vernon Reid and Jeff “Tain” Watts. His wife revealed that the album was completed last week.

“He wanted to be known for the type of music he was composing,” Stephanie Hubbard said. “And before he died, he was sitting there at night listening to the music, and he was so happy with it.”

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.