"We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved friend and bandmate, Gerard Smith, following a courageous fight against lung cancer," said a message posted on the band's website. "'We will miss him terribly.'"
Smith's illness was disclosed five weeks ago, with the band noting in an upbeat statement that given Smith's "legendarily wilful disposition ... it might just be cancer that has the problem.'". He was diagnosed with cancer after the band had finished recording its new album Nine Types of Light, which debuted at No. 12 in the American charts on Wednesday, the day Smith died.
Smith joined the five-piece band in time to work on its previous album, 2008's Dear Science. Away from the band, he and singer Tunde Adebimpe wrote and composed music for The Lottery, a documentary that looks at public education through the eyes of Harlem's Success Academy annual intake lottery.