ASBURY PARK, N.J. – Bernie Worrell, who revolutionized keyboard playing in popular music, died Friday from the effects of lung cancer, his wife, Judie Worrell, announced on Facebook.
“Rest in peace, my love – you definitely made the world a better place,” Judie Worrell said.
Worrell worked with the Talking Heads, Bill Laswell, Keith Richards, the Pretenders, Jack Bruce, Deee-Lite and many others, but he is perhaps best known as the keyboard maestro of Parliament-Funkadelic, most prominently on tracks like “Flash Light,” “Mothership Connection” and “Aqua Boogie.”
“We were just funking around for fun, we were glad to be on the road playing, and when we weren’t on the road, we were in the studio making all those albums that are out t now,” Worrell said in an interview with the Asbury Park Press.
Worrell was born in Long Branch and he gave his first public performance at the city’s Star of the Sea Academy as a 4-year-old.
An April benefit for the ailing Worrell in New York City drew a wide array of stars, from actress Meryl Streep to Clinton and Bootsy Collins.
“Bernie made stardust and he sprinkled us all with it,” said Streep, who appeared with Worrell in the movie Ricki and the Flash.