Brian “Brizz” Gillis, one of the founders of the ’90s boy band LFO, died Wednesday, sources close to the singer confirmed to Variety. He was 47.
LFO member Brad Fischetti was the first official source to comment on the death in an Instagram tribute post.
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“Every story is made up of chapters. Some develop naturally. Some you have to cut up in your mind. The first two chapters of the LFO story lost a main character yesterday. Brian ‘Brizz’ Gillis passed away. I don’t have details and it wouldn’t be my place to share them if I did. I am really struggling to process this tragic loss. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it; the LFO Story is a tragedy. If you know what I’ve been doing, you know I’m trying to bring light into the darkness. Trying find redemption in pain and suffering. Trying to honor the legacy.”
He continues, “My relationship with Brian was complex. It contained moments of great tribulation but also of great joy. I learned a lot from him about the business of music and how to put together and rock a show. And it’s those positive aspects of our relationship that I will lean on now and forever.”
Gillis, along with the late Rich Cronin, launched the group in Massachusetts in 1995 and connected with Fischetti in Orlando in 1996, where they were signed to Lou Pearlman’s Transcontinental Records. The trio saw modest success in Europe and the U.S. in 1997 and 1998.
The group’s pop-rap single “Summer Girls” became their biggest hit and was often referred to as “The Abercrombie & Fitch” song because of the popularity of the lyric “I like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch.” The song helped to catapult their 1999 album “LFO” — which also included hit single “Girl on TV” — to No. 21 on the Billboard 200.
The trio went on tour in the years that followed, opening for Britney Spears while their debut continued to climb the charts. Gillis left the band in the late ’90s to pursue his own career ventures and was replaced by Boston-area singer Devin Lima. After the addition of Lima, LFO was signed by Clive Davis to Ariana Records. They released their sophomore album, “Life Is Good,” in 2001 but parted ways the following year.
LFO eventually reunited (without Gillis) but disbanded after Cronin died of a stroke in 2010 after battling leukemia. Fischetti and Lima reunited as a duo in 2017 before Lima’s own death a year later. Founding member Fischetti continues to tour and perform, carrying on the group’s legacy.
“I leave that stage and lose it — it’s like reliving losing them all over again,” Fischetti told Variety of the nostalgia-fueled Pop2000 Tour. “It’s an unfortunate honor to nurture the LFO legacy and there are times I think, ‘There’s too much pain. This LFO story’s a tragedy. Put it away, bro – there’s too much heartache.’ But I believe in making something good from something bad, and fans want this. They thank me for keeping Rich and Devin’s memories alive, so it’s my mission to honor them and LFO’s legacy and bring people back to a simpler time.”
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