Dino Danelli, the influential drummer and co-founder of The Rascals, died on 12/15 at the age of 78.

Rascals guitarist Gene Cornish announced Danelli’s death on social media. No location or cause was given, but Danelli had suffered from coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure for several years.

"He was my brother and the greatest drummer I’ve ever seen," Cornish wrote on Facebook. "I am devastated at this moment. Rest in Peace, Dino. I love you, brother."

Danelli, who trained as a jazz drummer and played in Lionel Hampton’s band in the early 1960s and backed R&B singers in New Orleans and New York, met his future bandmates, keyboardist Felix Cavaliere and singer Eddie Brigati, in 1963. They worked in Las Vegas as a casino band for about a year before returning to New York.

In late 1964, the trio added Cornish and formed the Young Rascals, debuting in 1965 at a club in Garfield, N.J.

They were signed to Atlantic, after which their first five albums went Top 20 and they had 13 Top 40 singles, including the chart-toppers “Good Lovin,’” “Groovin’” and “People Got To Be Free.” Danelli and Cavaliere were the driving force in selecting material they would cover in addition to their originals.

They dropped the “Young” part of their name after three albums and eventually ventured away from the commercial blue-eyed soul sound they'd help popularize. The concept record Freedom Suite in 1969 and the jazz-oriented Peaceful World and Search and Nearness (both 1971) demonstrated the group’s ambition, but they did not enjoy the commercial success of previous releases.

The group broke up in the early 1970s but mounted several short-lived reunions. In 2012 and 2013, they toured the country in a Jersey Boys-style revue that saw a short run on Broadway.

After their first breakup, in 1972, Danelli and Cornish formed Bulldog, which lasted for two albums. They reunited as Fotomaker in 1978. Danelli was also the first drummer in Steven Van Zandt’s Disciples of Soul.

The Rascals were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

Cavaliere wrote on Facebook: “My mind is flooding with memories of Dino's talent, humor, friendship and commitment to the music he loved. It's fitting that he played drums—he moved to the beat of his own drum. Still, he was the strongest beat for The Rascals. His artistry as a painter captured that same zest for life and rock 'n' roll attitude. I will miss him dearly.”