Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White Dies at 74

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White died Wednesday in his Los Angeles home at the age of 74.

White’s health had declined in the last few months as a result of a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, which had plagued him since the early 1990s and forced him to stop touring in 1994.

White founded the legendary funk-soul band in Chicago in the late 1960s alongside his brothers Verdine and Fred and served as the band’s chief songwriter and producer. He shared vocal duties with lead singer Philip Bailey. The group’s hits include “Shining Star,” which reached No. 1 in 1975, “September” and “Boogie Wonderland.” The band, which has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide, is set to be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammy Awards on February 15.

The musician has seven Grammy wins and 21 nominations under his belt. EWF was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. White also appears in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.

(Rex Features via AP Images) The large band was known for its elaborate stage shows that included lightshows, fireworks and elaborate dance moves.

(Rex Features via AP Images) The large band was known for its elaborate stage shows that included lightshows, fireworks and elaborate dance moves.

White started out as a jazz drummer and played percussion instruments for the band as well as providing vocals with Bailey. He produced many of Earth, Wind & Fire’s albums and also produced for artists including Barbra Streisand.

The band’s official Twitter said, “The light is he, shining on you and me.”

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