Brian ‘Brizz’ Gillis, Founding Member of Boy Band LFO, Dead at 47
Brian “Brizz” Gillis, a founding member of the boy band LFO, who left right before the group scored their 1999 hit “Summer Girls,” has died. He was 47.
LFO’s Brad Fischetti — who is now the sole surviving member of the group following the deaths of Rich Cronin in 2010 and Devin Lima in 2018 — confirmed Gillis’ death on Instagram Thursday, March 30. Fischetti did not reveal a cause of death, saying, “I don’t have details and it wouldn’t be my place to share them if I did.”
He continued: “I am really struggling to process this tragic loss. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it; the LFO Story is a tragedy. If you know what I’ve been doing, you know I’m trying to bring light into the darkness. Trying find redemption in pain and suffering. Trying to honor the legacy.”
Fischetti described Gillis as a “main character” in the band’s early stages, adding, “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.”
“My relationship with Brian was complex,” Fischetti added. “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 and Cronin formed LFO in Massachusetts in 1995. The following year, they drove down to Florida to meet Lou Pearlman, the notorious boy band Svengali, who’d just signed the Backstreet Boys. Fischetti, who’d moved to Orlando a year prior to pursue music and had started working for Pearlman, answered the door. Fischetti recalls to Rolling Stone, “Lou brought us into his game room and essentially said, ‘Hey you guys are into the same type of music, why don’t you come together as a trio and I’ll sign you to Transcontinental Records.'”
Between 1996 and 1998, LFO achieved some moderate success in the U.S. and Europe. In early 1999, however, Gillis decided to leave the band and “pursue other ventures.” He was replaced by Devin Lima, and not long after, in the spring of 1999, Clive Davis signed LFO to Arista Records.
A few months later, the band’s big breakthrough, “Summer Girls,” hit, peaking at Number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group’s self-titled debut, also released in 1999, featured another Top 10 hit, “Girl on TV.” While most of LFO was made after Gillis left, Fischetti notes that he does appear on one song, “Can’t Have You.”
LFO released one more album, 2001’s Life Is Good, before disbanding the following year. LFO did eventually reunite without Gillis, though they split again after Cronin died from a stroke while battling leukemia in 2010. Fischetti and Lima got the band back together in 2017, but Lima died a year later from cancer. Fischetti continues to tour and perform as LFO.
In his tribute to Gillis, Fischetti wrote, “I’ve prayed for Brian every day for many years. And I will continue to pray for him, for his beloved father, for his friends, his family, and those who loved him … I know that soon or maybe already, Brizz will be greeted by Rich and Devin. And I hope that together, they will make some sweet sounds. I would really like that.”