Maurice White, founder of the soul band Earth, Wind, and Fire, died in his sleep Thursday morning in Los Angeles, at the age of 74.
White suffered from Parkinson’s disease.
Earth, Wind & Fire had been responsible for popular hits such as “September,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Shining Star” and “After the Love has Gone.”
Reportedly, White had been living with Parkinson’s since 1992, and his condition had gotten worse in the past few months.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and, after working with entertainers like The Emotions, Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Neil Diamond, White had been individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
According to reports, Verdine White, also a member of the band, told the Associated Press, “My brother, hero, and best friend,Maurice White, passed away peacefully last night 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. Thank you for your prayers, and well wishes.”
The band also tweeted: “Our brother Maurice White passed peacefully in his sleep this morning. The light is he, shining on you and me.
The following additional musicians and entertainment artists, among others, also tweeted tributes to White on Twitter:
“Maurice White, founding member of Earth, Wind and Fire, has died. Great music, energy, great spirit. The Lord must need a band up there,” Bette Midler.
“Thank you Maurice White for creating some of the greatest soul funk and R&B music of all time. Gratitude,” Mark Ronson.
“Your music is the template of spirituality, and greatness. Thank you. Be ever wonderful,” Jill Scott.
“R.I.P the great Maurice White. ‘You can’t hide love’,” Chris Rock.
“King. Genius. Leader. Teacher. Producer. Arranger. Writer. Multi-instrumentalist. Motivator. Mystic. Through his music and artistic expression, he taught me a lifetime’s worth of knowledge. He is at the top of the list of all of the greatest masters. The music he left behind as Earth Wind and Fire, mixed with his messages of love, will live on forever,” Lenny Kravitz, via Instagram.
“Gutted, although I knew he was ill a long time. Soundtrack of my childhood. Seminal R&B smashers,” Beverly Knight.
“Your contributions to music will be kept in our hearts and souls, forever,” Quincy Jones.
Earth, Wind & Fire has sold over 90 million albums worldwide.
Visit http://www.earthwindandfire.com/ for additional information regarding White, and the group.