Newswire: R.I.P. Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire

Maurice White, founder and principal songwriter of legendary funk-soul outfit Earth, Wind & Fire, has died. White’s health had reportedly been declining over the past few months, the result of a decades-long battle with Parkinson’s disease that forced him to stop touring in the mid-’90s. His brother and bandmate Verdine White confirmed White’s death to The Associated Press earlier today, saying he died in his sleep at home in Los Angeles. He was 74.

Born in Memphis in 1941, White worked as a session musician before forming his own band, Salty Peppers, in Chicago in the late ’60s. Although the band was moderately successful, White eventually moved to Los Angeles, convincing Verdine to move out West with him. There, Maurice White reformed the band under the name Earth, Wind & Fire, named after the elements in his astrological chart.

Their first self-titled album and its followup …

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