Maurice White, Of ‘Earth Wind & Fire,’ Dies At 74 From Parkinson’s Disease

American singer-songwriter and record producer Maurice White reportedly passed away on Thursday morning at his home in Los Angeles.

According to his brother Verdine White, the music legend and founder of soul band Earth, Wind & Fire reportedly died in his sleep. Maurice White was 74.

“My brother, hero, and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” said Verdine in a report.

Verdine, 64, who was also a member of the band, said in the statement that the world has lost another legend in the music industry. However, he asks that the public and media give them privacy in order to cope with the new change in their lives.

“Thank you for your prayers and well wishes,” he added.

Maurice White had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease since 1992, although his condition had gotten much worse in recent months. It was reported that because of his condition, he failed to make it to the tour with the band in 1994.

Known as “Reese” among his friends, Maurice White helped shoot Earth, Wind & Fire to fame with hits such as “September,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Shining Star,” and “After the Love has Gone.” The band sold over 90 million albums worldwide, and has won six Grammy awards throughout its existence.

Maurice White and his Band Performed Such Hits as ‘September’

He has also worked with notable other musicians and artists such as The Emotions, Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Neil Diamond.

In 2000, Earth, Wind & Fire was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and 10 years later, Reese was individually included in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Despite the band’s immense popularity in the 1970s and the decades after that, Maurice said in an interview in 2000 that he hopes Earth, Wind & Fire would inspire people, and not just entertain them.

White said that it was the “whole objective” of what they were doing. They wanted the young people to pursue their dreams and believe in themselves.

“We’ve touched so many people with these songs,” Reese said.

Maurice White formed the band in 1969 together with his younger brother Verdine. The soul group offered a healthy mix of funk, jazz, R&B, and even Latin music.

Even when Earth, Wind & Fire was topping the charts, the group kept away from controversy and remained closely bonded.

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2013, Verdine said that Reese was a good leader. Even when he was not touring with the band, Reese was still involved in making decisions for the group.

Verdine also said that Maurice wanted to leave a new image for musicians, who were mostly considered to have morality and lifestyle issues.

“So we were into healthy food, meditation, taking vitamins, reading philosophical books, being students of life,” Verdine added.

However, despite Maurice’s success with the band, it was not always smooth sailing for the musician.

White started his music career as a stage musician and an occasional member of various bands and groups in the 1960s. He then formed a band named Salty Peppers in the Chicago area, but that was short-lived.

Before the decade ended, Maurice White moved to Los Angeles and took out all the members from the old band, except Verdine, and started Earth, Wind & Fire. He reportedly took the name from his astrological chart.

The band then included Phil Bailey, who was among the first lead singers of the band.

While the soul band did not make it to the top right away, Reese and company kept doing their thing, and before the 1970s ended, Earth, Wind & Fire was well on its way to being one of the greatest bands of all time.

[Image via YouTube]

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