Earth, Wind & Fire Drummer Fred White Dead at 67

Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White has died, the band and White’s brother, Verdine, announced yesterday (January 1).

via: Page Six

White’s brother and bandmate, Verdine, shared the tragic news in an Instagram post Sunday, but did not disclose the date of the drummer’s passing nor the cause of death.

Verdine, 71, penned a lengthy tribute to his star sibling, stating: “Our family is saddened today with the loss of an amazing and talented family member. Our beloved brother Frederick Eugene ‘Freddie’ White.

“He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte, and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels!” Verdine continued. “He was the wonderful bro that was always entertaining and delightfully mischievous! And we could always count on him to make a seemingly bad situation more light-hearted.”

White began his music career when he was 14 years old, joining the band the Salty Peppers. He first started playing drums with Earth, Wind & Fire in 1974.

At the time, White’s brother, Verdine, played bass in Earth, Wind & Fire, while their older half-brother, Maurice, served as a singer-songwriter.

The band’s funky combination of R&B, soul and disco pop defined the sound of the 1970s, with hit songs including “September,” “Shining Star” and “Let’s Groove.”

White left the band in the mid-1980s, but returned for their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2000.

Over the decades, Earth, Wind & Fire have won six Grammy Awards and four American Music Awards.

White has also played drums on recordings for Bonnie Raitt, Donny Hathaway, Deniece Williams and Diana Ross. He last appeared on Ross’ comeback album, “Thank You,” which was released last year.

Meanwhile, a slew of celebrities responded to Verdine’s Instagram post, including rocker Lenny Kravitz.

“Sending my love and deepest condolences to you and the family. I was blessed to have been in his presence and blessed to have been influenced by him. A true king. Rest in power,” Kravitz commented.

Fans of the band also chimed in with comments saying just how much White meant to them.

“I remember when, as a child, I used to take my mom’s pots and pans and turn them upside down and use them as drums,” one wrote. “I used to look in the album covers, looking at African-American Kings … I was so inspired. Mr. Fred White was the reason why I turned those pots and pans over.

“With so much love and respect, I sent my deepest condolences to you and your family,” the heartbroken fan continued. “May you rest in peace, Mr. Fred White.”

RIP.

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