Horrible news, late 90's boy band fans. Rich Cronin, member of LFO, has passed away at 35 after a battle with leukemia. LFO isn't quite as well remembered today as some of its counterparts from the time period, but they hold a special place in my heart from their brief tenure at the top. Back in the distant, distant past, before I knew I was gay, I had this magazine with a picture of LFO that provided more than its fair share of fantasies pour moi. Rich and the other hottie of the group, Devin, were quite fit back in the day. I know that's probably not exactly how he would want to be remembered, but being pre-teen masturbatory fodder is quite a huge compliment (especially since I wasn't as big of a whore as I am today). But not only was he a good looker, the group's 'Summer Girls' was quite literally my jam of the summer of '99. The video was one of the staples on TRL at that period of time, and I loved it to pieces back in the day. True, the lyrics are kinda painful to listen to today, but it captured a brief period of time perfectly when white boy wannabe hip-hoppers got lumped in with the Boy Band Craze dominating the world at that time. Besides, what 20-something doesn't automatically think of 'Summer Girls' when someone talks about Abercrombie & Fitch? Hell, one of my blog's labels comes from that song. So, yes, not exactly great, but the song's power is everlasting.
The real tragedy of Cronin's death goes even deeper than his literal death. Cronin is one of the first of my pre-teen idols to pass away. I may not have thought about him in ages, but his death is a reminder that we are all growing older and the people my generation worshiped back in junior high is also getting older. I'm saddened by Cronin's passing, and he was only a minor influence. I can't imagine what will happen when a major player, like a BSB member or Jessica Simpson, eventually passes. Everyone from that time period is irreplaceable and it saddens me to think that they won't all be around at some point. RIP Rich, you made my transition from elementary school to junior high, from my old house to my new one a teensy bit easier with your music. You will be missed.