John "Ecstasy" Fletcher, of Hip-Hop Group Whodini, Dead at 56

Joshua Espinoza
·6 min read

Image via Getty/Leon Bennett

The hip-hop world is mourning the loss of another legend.

On Wednesday, Questlove announced the death of John "Ecstasy" Fletcher, a co-founding member of the New York City hip-hop group Whodini. "This man was legendary and a pivotal member of one of the most legendary groups in hip hop," Questlove wrote in an Instagram tribute post. "This is sad man."

Ecstasty was 56.

His family released the following statement.

The African and Native American ancestors have gathered around and chosen this day, during the Winter Solstice, Dec 23rd, 2020 to call upon a most endeared, generous, and sincere soul who graced The World’s heart through performance, hip-hop, family, children and grandchildren.

John "Ecstasy" Fletcher was a beloved man, the life partner to Deltonia and ex-husband to Carla, twin brother to Joseph,artist, friend, and lifetime performing partner to the Legendary Jalil of Whodini.

Whodini set a Hip Hop course of legendary status that we are all sure to pass on to our grandchildren.

Please send love and prayers to our family, and with open hearts we ask the ancestors to cover his soul in peace and tranquility. Play his music if it moves you, and know he'll be hearing you on his way home this day, Dec 23rd."

Cards and letters can be sent to:
3799 Main Street P.O. Box 87176
College Park, GA 30337

Sincerely, The Family of John "Ecstacy" Fletcher

The details of the tragedy have not been revealed, but his family tells TMZ that the death came as a shock, as Ecstasy was healthy and avid gym-goer. They also say he was talking to people shortly before he died, but suddenly stopped breathing.

Ecstasy formed Whodini with Jalil Hutchins in 1982, and would go on to recruit DJ Drew Carter, aka Grandmaster Dee, several years later. The group is considered a pioneering act within the hip-hop realm, as they were known for seamlessly fusing R&B and rap during the latter genre's early years.

Whodini would go on to release half a dozen studio albums between 1983 and 1996, and delivered a number of charted singles, such as "Magic's Wand," "Friends"/"Five Minutes of Funk," "Funky Beat," and the Halloween-themed cut "The Haunted House of Rock."

"One Love’ to one of Hip Hop’s Greatest!" Hutchins said in a statement. "There will never be another."

In 2018, the Brooklyn group received the Hip Hop Icon award at the 3rd Annual Black Music Honors, where Doug E. Fresh, YoYo, Monie Love, and DJ Mell Star gave a tribute performance of Whodini's greatest hits.

On Wednesday, hip-hop figures and fans took to social media to pay tribute to Ecstasy and the indelible mark he left on music.

"A pillar. One of our foundational pieces. Our Temptations. Our Four Tops. Our Isley Brothers. A standard. That’s what Whodini was and is to us," producer 9th Wonder said in a statement. "Mr. John 'Ecstasy' Fletcher was a part of that standard. So many of us in this culture have taken away from him, Jalil, and Grandmaster Dee ... from words and lyrics, to the beats. They not only had songs that shaped our culture, but lyrics that became sayings. Friends ... how many of us have them? One Love. It’s so many. Thank you Ecstasy. Thank you for the road you paved for the thousands and thousands of women and men who want to one day call themselves a rapper. May your spirit live on, forever."

You can read additional tribute messages below.

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