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Gooding family l – r: Omar, April, Cuba Sr., Shirley and Cuba, Jr.

Cuba Gooding, Sr. the father of actors Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Omar Gooding as well as April and Thomas Gooding, died unexpectedly in Los Angeles last month. The family, including his widow, Shirley, held a memorial for Gooding, Sr., the lead singer of The Main Ingredient, at the Apollo Theater. The family recently issued a statement thanking Cuba’s longtime fans.

Read the official family statement below:

To the many fans and all who loved Cuba Gooding, Sr., who for 45 years was the lead vocalist of “The Main Ingredient,” the Gooding family, wife, Mrs. Shirley Gooding, and children, April Gooding, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Omar Gooding, Thomas Gooding, and the Gooding grandchildren, would like to thank all for the tremendous outpouring of love that you have shown us following the passing of the family’s patriarch: Cuba Gooding, Sr.

Following his passing, just over three weeks ago, I am honored to have flown my husband’s body from Los Angeles, back to Harlem for a memorial service and last appearance at the Apollo Theater. It was only fitting that his funeral and final resting place be in Harlem (New York City), where it all started for my husband.

Cuba was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and he loved as he called it, “The Common Man.” He loved working with children and helping empower their lives.

More than three weeks ago, Cuba Sr. told me, “I am going first. You will put me in the wall (mausoleum). Then you will be next, and we will argue and fight throughout eternity.” I told Cuba, “We’re the bride of Christ.” He said, “I’m not gay.” I said, “I’m going in the Rapture.”   And then we both laughed.

I am in love with Cuba more than ever, when I think that he wanted me to be with him throughout eternity. The last three weeks of his life was eventfully. He was closing a deal in Las Vegas, and recording his last record. He was so excited about what he had accomplished.

My husband passed away near our home in Southern California, trying to get back in my arms. However, the Gooding family is at peace, knowing that Cuba is in Heaven. I’m especially at peace, because I know Cuba and Heaven are in my future.

With all our love, we again thank you for loving Cuba Gooding, Sr., and for your many flowers, cards, kind thoughts and words, and other acts of kindness after Cuba passed. We will never forget you. God bless you all!

Mrs. Shirley Gooding and family

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