Calvin Simon, Parliament-Funkadelic Co-Founder, Dies at 79: 'Heaven Just Got a Bit Funkier'

"Rest in peace to my P-Funk brother Mr. Calvin Simon," his former bandmate George Clinton wrote in a tribute on Facebook

Calvin Simon, the co-founder of the music group Parliament-Funkadelic and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, died at 79 years old on Thursday.

"[Thanks] everyone for the wonderful memories... we will so miss you Calvin... but love the thought that heaven just got a bit funkier," a post on Simon's official Facebook page stated on Saturday, confirming the death of the performer.

His former bandmates Bootsy Collins and George Clinton both paid tribute to the musician on social media.

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"We lost another Original member of Parliament/Funkadelic," Collins wrote on Instagram on Friday. "A friend, bandmate & a cool classic guy, Mr. Calvin Simon was a former member of Parliament/Funkadelic. He's in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen members of P-Funk! R.I.P Bootsy baby!!!"

"Rest in peace to my P-Funk brother Mr. Calvin Simon. Longtime Parliament-Funkadelic vocalist. Fly on Calvin!" Clinton shared on Facebook.

Simon's cause of death has not been made available.

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Simon began singing as part of a church choir that performed during weekly radio broadcasts in West Virginia.

When his family moved to New Jersey, he became a barber and created the doo-wop quintet, the Parliaments, with fellow barbers George Clinton and Grady Thomas and customers Ray Davis and Fuzzy Haskins. The group's song "(I Wanna) Testify" charted on R&B and pop charts after its 1967 debut.

Shortly after, Simon was drafted and served for two years during the Vietnam War. He then joined Parliament-Funkadelic, which went on to release hits including "Give Up the Funk" and "Flash Light." He left the group in 1978 and returned to his church roots and started working on gospel music.

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In 1997, Simon and the other members of Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Prince.

"It was an honor and thrill to receive such a recognition and to perform on stage for a crowd of my peers," Simon shared on his website. "It was truly amazing that despite the fact the founding members had not performed on the same stage in 20 years, they did not miss a beat! What a night!"

His debut gospel album Share the News was released in 2004 following his diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

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"Initially it was a shock, as it took my voice away," he explained on his website. "Since the cancer was in the thyroid against my vocal cords, I was certain my music career was over and at this point I walked away from music. Apparently God had other plans and had enough forethought to know I needed to be home at that time."

He went on to release two more albums, It's Not Too Late in 2016 and I Believe in 2018.

Clinton and his Parliament-Funkadelic bandmates received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2019.

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