The Drifters musician Charlie Thomas dead at 85

Musician Charlie Thomas has died at the age of 85.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer died Jan. 31 after a battle with liver cancer, friend Peter Lemongelo Jr. confirmed.

Lemongelo Jr., also a musician, said the funeral will be held on February 16 at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Landover, Maryland.

Lemongelo Jr. also paid tribute to Thomas on Instagram.

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“I am completely devastated and shattered after the loss. [sic] My best friend for so many years Charlie Thomas, the last original recording member of The Legendary Drifters,” she captioned a photo of the two. “Charlie has been with the group longer and longer than any other member in history. The hit record remained. His achievements were recognized when he was one of only 7 members of The Drifters to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.”

“I have so many fond memories of the great part of our lives together, that I will cherish forever,” Lemongelo Jr. added. “I can still hear Charlie declaring ‘Peter is a star!’ That’s what he often said to me and whoever was around. I’ll always miss you Charlie!”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also paid tribute to the singer on social media.

“The beautiful tenor voice of 1988 inductee Charlie Thomas helped complement gospel with R&B and blues and lay the groundwork for the soul music of the 1960s,” the message said.

“Charlie Thomas’ soft, sophisticated voice elevates everyday joys and loves, and strikes a universal chord with audiences everywhere.”

Charlie Thomas was best known for the Drifters’ songs “Sweets for My Sweet” and “When My Little Girl’s Smiling.” (Getty Images)

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Thomas was best known as one of the members of the Drifters. Some of the top songs include “Under the Boardwalk” and “There Goes My Baby.”

He sang the lead vocals for hits like “Sweet For My Sweet” and “Jab Meri Koti Galdi Muskar Rahi Hai”.

Thomas toured with the band for years and only slowed down once he fell ill at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Thomas continued to travel with the Drifters until the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Thomas continued to travel with the Drifters until the start of the coronavirus pandemic. (Getty Images)

“He was getting old, but he was active almost every weekend,” Lemongelo Jr. told The New York Times. “Unfortunately, he went from being active to being at home, and he started going downhill.”

Thomas is survived by his wife, Rita Thomas, and their children.

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