LOS ANGELES – Rich Cronin, the lead singer and songwriter for the band LFO who wrote the catchy 1999 hit “Summer Girls,” has died of complications of leukemia. He was 36.

Cronin, who was diagnosed with the disease five years ago, died Wednesday at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said Melissa Holland, his business partner.

He wrote “Summer Girls,” the boy band’s most popular song, after touring Europe with LFO and performing pop songs that he said he didn’t really believe in.

Depressed and “ready to call it quits,” he later said, he penned the pop culture mash-up that showcased a penchant for offbeat wordplay. He referenced Larry Bird’s jersey one moment and sonnets by “Billy Shakespeare” the next.

“I just thought back to when I was young, happy, no worries,” Cronin told the Boston Globe in 2005.

“I never thought that anyone besides my close friends would ever hear it,” he said.

Leaked to a radio station, the hip-hop pop tune peaked as a Top 5 single in summer 1999, thanks in part to what Billboard magazine called an “ultra-hooky” chorus:

“New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits

“Chinese food makes me sick

“And I think it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer

“I like girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch …”