September 9, 2010 / 3:46 AM / 8 years ago

Former singer with boy band LFO dies of leukemia

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rich Cronin, former lead singer of the boy band LFO and the writer of its 1999 hit “Summer Girls,” died on Wednesday after a battle with leukemia, celebrity news site TMZ reported. He was 35.

LFO lead singer Rich Cronin performs with LFO at a taping of the Family Television Awards August 2, 2001 in Beverly Hills. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

The news was also reported via Twitter by Lance Bass, a former member of ‘N Sync, who described Cronin as “an amazing guy.” It was not clear where Cronin died.

The Boston native co-founded LFO — short for “Lyte Funky Ones” — in 1995 with Brad Fischetti and Brian Gillis (who was later replaced by Devin Lima). They signed a deal with Lou Pearlman, the now-imprisoned pop impresario behind ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.

But Cronin sought to differentiate his band from other male vocal groups, which relied on outside songwriters and producers to deliver soulful pop hits. LFO introduced hip-hop and rock into the equation, and hit No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart with the inescapable summer anthem “Summer Girls.”

The follow-up, “Girl on TV,” reached No. 10, but subsequent singles failed to crack the top 40. The band broke up in 2003.

Cronin was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and set up a foundation to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Belinda Goldsmith

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