Maurice White, Founder of Earth, Wind and Fire, Dead at 74

Yet another Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has passed. Maurice White, founding member of soul legends Earth, Wind and Fire passed away in his sleep last night, according to a post by his brother and bandmate Verdine White on the band’s Facebook page. White was 74:

My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep. While the world has lost…

Posted by Earth, Wind & Fire on Thursday, February 4, 2016

TMZ reports that White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1992, and the effects of the disease took him off the road with the band in 1994. He was still active in band decisions.

Maurice was born Dec. 19, 1941 in Memphis, and he was a childhood friend of Booker T Jones. He later moved to Chicago and became a session drummer at Chess Studios. He played drums on the Fontella Bass classic “Rescue Me.”

A move to Los Angeles in 1969 prompted a name change for his band The Salty Peppers. This was the beginning of Earth, Wind and Fire and a hall of fame career that included such hits as “Shining Star,” “September” and “That’s the Way of the World.”

Earth, Wind and Fire will be honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys later this month.

White leaves behind a wife and two children.