Bell died on Wednesday at his home in the US Virgin Islands with his wife by his side, his publicist said. No cause of death was released.
Bell co-founded Kool & The Gang in New Jersey in 1964 and wrote some of the group’s best-known songs, including party staple Celebration, Cherish, Jungle Boogie and Summer Madness.
The band were one of the biggest of the 1970s and won the album of the year Grammy in 1978 for their work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
They are also one of the most sampled artists of all time, with the horns from their 1973 funky jam Jungle Boogie featuring on hundreds of other songs.
In 2015, Kool & the Gang were honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.