Toby Smith, the original keyboardist for and co-founder of the Grammy-winning British funk band Jamiroquai known for the hit “Virtual Insanity,” died Wednesday, April 12, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 46.
Smith, along with bassist Stuart Zender and frontman Jason Kay, formed the band in 1991. Smith quit the band in 2002.
Zender paid tribute to his former bandmate in a post to his Instagram account.
“I love you so much. My big brother Toby crossed over to the other side last night. All my fondest memories are of him and the band that we created. The most talented musician I have ever had the honor to make music with. There will never be another like you Toby. Your light will shine on eternally. Thank you for making mine and everyone’s life so bright. I celebrate your love and life! Rest in Love. Your bald brother Stu x”
In 1997, Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity,” featuring Kay’s Stevie Wonder-influenced singing, won four awards at the MTV Video Music Awards. That same year, the group also picked up a Grammy Award for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals.
During Smith’s time with the band, Jamiroquai released five albums: “Emergency on Planet Earth” (1993), “The Return of the Space Cowboy” (1994), “Travelling Without Moving” (1996), “Synkronized” (1999), and “A Funk Odyssey” (2001).
Smith, who was born Toby Grafftey-Smith Oct. 29, 1970, in London, is survived by a daughter.