The music world has lost another legend.
Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire died on Thursday at 74 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.
“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” White’s younger brother, Verdine, shared on the band’s Facebook page. “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 bandleader and producer for most of EWF’s albums, White was nominated for 21 GRAMMY Awards, winning seven in his time with the band. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Earth, Wind & Fire in 2000, and also individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the late ‘80s, and stopped touring with EWF in 1994, though he retained executive control over the group. The band continues to tour to this day, with a lineup that includes White’s brother, Verdine, as the bassist and backup vocalist.
"We are very saddened to learn of the passing of seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Maurice White," said Neil Portnow, President and CEO of The Recording Academy -- who are honoring Earth, Wind & Fire with their Lifetime Achievement Award this year -- in a statement. "Maurice was the guiding force behind the group’s success and helped create hit songs such as 'Shining Star,' 'September,' 'After The Love Has Gone,' and so many memorable others. His unerring instincts as a musician and showman helped propel the band to international stardom, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process. While he will be greatly missed, Maurice’s contributions to music will live on. We offer our condolences to his family, friends and creative collaborators."
White’s powerful and widespread influence was felt as the news of his death broke and celebs took to Twitter to share their memories of the famed artist.