Brian “Brizz” Gillis, the singer who co-founded the Massachusetts boy band LFO, has died at 47. His former bandmate Brad Fischetti shared the news on Thursday via Instagram, which was later confirmed by variety.
“I don’t have details and it wouldn’t be my place to share them if I did,” Fischetti shared at the beginning of his heartfelt tribute post. “The first two chapters of the LFO story lost a main character yesterday… I am really struggling to process this tragic loss.”
“My relationship with Brian was complex,” he continued. “It contained moments of great tribulation but also of great joy. I learned a lot from him about the business of music and how to put together and rock a show. And it’s those positive aspects of our relationship that I will lean on now and forever.”
Gillis formed the pop trio Lyte Funkie Ones with Fischetti and the late Rich Cronin in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1995. The group signed to prolific boy band manager Lou Pearlman’s Transcontinental Records in 1996 and attained moderate success in the US and UK during the late ‘ 90s behind singles like “(Sex U Up) The Way You Like It” and covers of New Kids on the Block’s “Step by Step” and the Bee Gees’ “If I Can’t Have You.”
“Brizz” left the group in 1999 to pursue a solo career and other ventures and was subsequently replaced by the late vocalist Devin Lima. The boy band officially shortened their name to “LFO” and released their self-titled debut album in 1999, which featured their career highest-charting single, “Summer Girls.” They followed the success with 2001’s Life is Goodthen disbanded in 2002.
The group reformed twice, in 2009 and 2017, but neither lineup included Gillis. The first reunion, which featured Fischetti, Lima, and Cronin, was tragically cut short when Cronin died from a stroke in 2010 following a lengthy battle with leukemia. The second iteration similarly faced a heartbreaking end when Lima passed away in 2018.
“I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it; the LFO Story is a tragedy,” Fischetti shared in his post. “If you know what I’ve been doing, you know I’m trying to bring light into the darkness. Trying to find redemption in pain and suffering. Trying to honor the legacy.”
To that, Fischetti commemorated his bandmate’s contributions, saying, “If it wasn’t for his hard work and dedication in the early days of LFO, the first two chapters, the LFO you came to know and (hopefully) love would not exist. ”
In the comments to Fischetti’s post, condolences were shared by Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath, O-Town’s Jacob Underwood, and more. DJ Nasty called the news “unbelievable” and added that “Brizz was so cool” before sending prayers to his family.