Tommy DeBarge, the musician who was a member of the famed DeBarge family, has died as confirmed by family members to TMZ. DeBarge was 64.
DeBarge, who was a member of the R&B/Funk music band, Switch, passed away on Thursday. While the exact cause of death is not yet known, DeBarge’s daughter, Marina DeBarge, confirmed to TMZ that he suffered from kidney and liver disease. DeBarge also reportedly battled with COVID-19 earlier this year.
He was hospitalized a few weeks ago where he later died. Marina DeBarge said her father never complained about his illness or his pain. She said she spoke with DeBarge as recently as Wednesday.
DeBarge, along with his brother Bobby DeBarge, garnered musical success on Motown Records with Switch in the 1970s. The band’s single “There’ll Never Be” was a R&B top 10 hit. Switch went on to inspire other music groups that came after them, including Mint Condition, Tony!, Toni!, Toné! and even their younger siblings who made up the group known by the family’s surname, DeBarge.
DeBarge’s sister Bunny DeBarge reacted to her brother’s death in a Facebook post, sharing a video of a still image of Tommy DeBarge playing a guitar.
“Tommy has gained his wings,” she wrote.
“Tommy DeBarge could wear out a bass!” recalled author Dr. Margena A. Christian. “I last saw him when filming Unsung’s Switch episode in 2017. He made it to the set but his body was too fatigued after dialysis. Sending love and light to the DeBarge family. If able, please read his memoir. Powerful story about forgiveness.”