The Roots' longtime manager, Richard Nichols, dies

Richard Nichols at the "Ready to Share Fashion & The Ownership of Creativity" event presented by the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center on January 29, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. The event is sponsored by The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

UPDATE: The Roots released the following statement on the death of their manager Richard Nichols:

"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."

Longtime manager of The Roots, Richard Nichols, passed away Thursday afternoon.

Okayplayer confirmed the news and many members of the music industry had sent out messages of condolence via social media on Wednesday prior to his passing. He had reportedly fallen ill. 

"Okayplayer is deeply saddened to confirm the news that our friend, mentor and The Roots‘ manager Rich Nichols passed away this afternoon at 3:05pm, after a battle with leukemia. Rich was in so many ways the guiding spirit behind the group and certainly of Okayplayer itself, a role that could never even begin to be captured by the word “manager” and even as I type it, it feels like a slight to his true legacy and–we do not use the word lightly–genius."

Nichols was not only The Roots’ manager for over 15 years, he was a former jazz radio DJ and a producer for many other Philadelphia artists such as Jill Scott, Dice Raw, and Musiq Soulchild. Most recently, Nichols held the role of executive producer for The Roots’ album …and then you shoot your cousin.