Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White Dies At 74
The founder of the 1970s band Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, died Wednesday at his residence in Los Angeles, his brother Verdine White confirmed to The Associated Press. White was 74, and was suffering from Parkinson's Disease.
"My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep," Verdine White told AP on Thursday. "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."
Born in Memphis, Tennessee, White began Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969 after moving to Los Angeles.
According to the band's official website, White named the group Earth, Wind & Fire after the three elements in his astrological chart. The band used different styles across genres to create their unique sound that produced legendary hits like "Shining Star," "September" and "Boogie Wonderland."
The '70s supergroup amassed six Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, an NAACP Hall of Fame Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in a career that spanned several decades. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
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In one of his final interviews with Billboard, the musician explained why he began the group that sold over 90 million records worldwide. "I started EWF because I had a vision and music was playing in my head that I wanted to bring through," White told Billboard. "What I had in mind was exactly what Earth, Wind & Fire became."