Maurice White, the founder of legendary band Earth, Wind & Fire, has died. He was 74. White, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease reportedly passed away in his sleep on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” Verdine White, his brother and band mate, told Associated Press on Thursday, Jan. 4. “While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”
In 2000, Earth, Wind & Fire, a nine-piece band, which centered around the White brothers, singer Philip Bailey and its distinctive horn section, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was during that time, the Memphis native publicly declared his battle with a disorder of the central nervous system. And While White trekked out on tour with the successful band during the early 80s, in 1994, he was forced to stop, citing weariness from the road and health issues.
Earth, Wind, & Fire first struck gold after the release of their 1975 project That’s The Way of The World. Other hits included “Serpentine Fire,” Grammy-winning “Shining Star” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.” A jack of all trades, White produced for the Emotions (Rejoice, 1977), Ramsey Lewis (Sun Goddess, 1975), and Deniece Williams (This Is Niecy, 1976) and Barbra Streisand and Cher. In the 1970s, he co-wrote and co-produced the Emotions’ No. 1 hit “Best of My Love.” His legacy will forever live on!