Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White Dies Aged 74

5 February 2016 | 11:29 am | Staff Writer

The veteran musician passed away peacefully in his sleep, his family have confirmed

The world is mourning the loss of another musical titan of the late 20th century in the wake of the news that Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White has died in Los Angeles at the age of 74.

White's brother and longtime bandmate, Verdine White, confirmed the news on social media, explaining that Maurice had passed away peacefully in his sleep.

"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," the post read. "Thank you for your prayers and well wishes."

Although it has been reported that White had been suffering from Parkinson's disease, there is no confirmation as yet that it has a causal link to his death. However, the BBC reports that his condition had apparently been deteriorating in recent months.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

White founded Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969, recruiting Verdine as well as fellow players Michael Beal, Leslie Drayton, Wade Flemons, Yackov Ben Israel, Sherry Scott, Alexander Thomas, Chester Washington and Don Whitehead. The band's initial line-up lasted until 1971, with the roster not finding lasting consistency again until 1974 (through 1981), by which stage the White brothers were the sole remaining original members.

White steered Earth, Wind & Fire through decades and shifting tastes and sensibilities, constantly pushing boundaries and existing ideas about the sonic playgrounds in which they romped. With a sound that draws on and transcends R&B, soul, jazz, disco, funk, psychedelia, electronica, pop and probably a few other less-definable pursuits, the band unsurprisingly became an influential force to be reckoned with. Nearly 50 years after they first began, the band has been cited by a raft of high-profile musos and outfits from Lenny Kravitz, Jamiroquai and Erykah Badu to Meghan Trainor, Solange Knowles and the All-American Rejects. Some of their better-known hits from across the years include tracks such as September, After The Love Is Gone, Boogie Wonderland and Shining Star.

The band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2000, and were invited by US president Barack Obama to perform at the White House for the 2009 Governors' Dinner. Maurice White was recognised in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame the following year.

Several fans and celebrities from across the entertainment industries have expressed their sorrow at the news of White's passing. See a selection of tributes below.

My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep. While the world has lost...

Posted by Earth, Wind & Fire on Thursday, February 4, 2016