As confirmed late Thursday afternoon (February 4) by the Associated Press, Maurice White, founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire, died Wednesday, February 3, in his Los Angeles home — passing peacefully in his sleep. The singer was 74.
White faced a long battle with Parkinson's Disease, which had plagued him since his diagnosis in the early 1990s and permanently prevented him from touring in 1994. Despite not being able to join on the road, White worked through his health issues, remaining actively involved in the decisions regarding the group.
White founded Earth, Wind & Fire in Chicago in the late 1960s, alongside his brothers Verdine and Fred White. The legendary funk-soul band went on to receive 20 Grammy nominations, winning six as a group, with White winning individually for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) in 1978.
Among their many achievements, the group also has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Earth, Wind & Fire — of which White contributed as singer-songwriter, record producer and bandleader — has impressively sold over 100 million records.
Earth, Wind & Fire is scheduled to be honored with a lifetime achievement award at this year's Grammy Awards on February 15.
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