Bill Lee, the father of acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee, has died at the age of 94.
According to the New York Times, the father died at his home in Brooklyn, and the cause of death is currently unknown.
Lee was a renowned musician who had played alongside music legends such as Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin.
He was a jazz bassist and composer who scored his son’s early films, including “She’s Gotta Have It,” “School Daze,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Mo’ Better Blues.”
However, the father-son duo’s working relationship came to an end after disagreements over finances and family issues.
The father blamed on his remarriage to his second wife, Susan Kaplan.
The father was also involved in many releases on the Strata-East jazz label, including directing the 1980 album The New York Bass Violin Choir.
Lee was born in 1928 in Snow Hill, Ala. He began playing bass at the age of 12. In 1994, Lee shared with The Los Angeles Times that his great-great-great-grandfather, Mike, was the son of an African king who was known for his defiance. Lee also mentioned that his grandfather attended school with Booker T. Washington. Additionally, he revealed that he had the opportunity to go to school with Martin Luther King.
Spike Lee’s father, like him, also graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Lee’s first wife, Jacqueline Shelton, who graduated from Spelman College, was his college sweetheart, and they had five children together: Spike, Christopher (who passed away in 2014), David, Joie, and Cinqué.
The musician is survived by his wife Kaplan, his son Spike, he also leaves behind his brother A. Clifton Lee and two grandchildren.
The family moved to Fort Greene, Brooklyn in 1959.
Like his son, the father was a strong advocate for social justice, and his music often reflected his political views.
He was a vocal critic of racism and segregation, and his music often explored the Black experience in America.