Alan White, Yes Drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Dead at 72

Alan White
Paul Bergen/Redferns

The legendary musician died on Thursday after a brief illness.

Alan White, the prolific, acclaimed drummer from the progressive rock band Yes, has died. He was 72.

White's family confirmed the news of his passing in a statement posted to Facebook, sharing that the famed rocker died on Thursday after "a brief illness."

"Throughout his life and six-decade career, Alan was many things to many people: a certified rock star to fans around the world; band mate to a select few, and gentleman and friend to all who met him," the statement shared.

White was born in Pelton, County Durham, England on June 14, 1949. He began playing the drums when he was only 12 and was performing in public at gigs around a year later.

After performing with a string of different bands in the 1960s -- including The Downbeats, The Gamblers, Billy Fury, Alan Price Big Band, Bell and Arc and Ginger Baker’s Airforce -- White received a call from John Lennon in 1969 and was asked to join the Plastic Ono Band.

After working with Lennon on a number of major recordings -- and performing with George Harrison -- White joined Yes in 1972, replacing their founding drummer only three days before the band embarked on their North American tour.

White remained with Yes ever since -- up to the band's most recent album, The Quest, released in October 2021. In 2017, White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the band.

White is survived by his wife of 40 years, Rogena, as well as his son Jesse and daughter Cassi.