Rich Cronin, whose band LFO sang the breezy summer hit "Summer Girls" that name-checked Abercrombie & Fitch, has died after struggling with health setbacks including leukemia and a stroke. He was 36.
Cronin — who co-wrote "Summer Girls," LFO's biggest hit — died in a Boston hospital Wednesday, former bandmate Brad Fischetti said.
"Last summer, when we did our reunion tour, he was certainly having health problems, but he was cancer-free at that time," Fischetti said Thursday. "I don't think it was cancer that took him yesterday, but certainly it all started with cancer."
His manager, Melissa Holland, said he died of complications from the leukemia.
"Rich was an incredible fighter, and every opportunity when his health was in good condition, he was living his life to the fullest, especially in music," she said. "He just always seemed to bounce back, and this time, it got the best of him."
Fischetti said he last exchanged text messages with Cronin about 10 days ago, when his bandmate went into the hospital. He recalls Cronin telling him about how people were asking for his autograph and talking to him about "Summer Girls."
"He said, 'Listen man, people still care about us,'" he remembered.
Despite its sophomoric lyrics — "New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, Chinese food makes me sick" — "Summer Girls" was an instant favorite with teens and got heavy rotation on MTV. It's also known as the "Abercrombie & Fitch" song because its chorus celebrates women who wear the retailer's clothes.
LFO came to prominence around the same time as the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, when boy bands were exploding on the pop scene. LFO — an acronym for Lyte Funky Ones — consisted of Cronin, Fischetti and Lima.
The group mixed singing and rapping with a distinct pop feel; Cronin rapped on "Summer Girls," which was top five hit in 1999. Its self-titled debut album, which also included the hit "Girl on TV," sold more than a million copies.