It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Fred White, the talented drummer for the iconic funk group Earth, Wind and Fire. Fred was 67 years old at the time of his death, which was announced by his family on January 1st.
Verdine White, Fred's brother and the bassist for the band, paid tribute to him on Instagram, writing "He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte, and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels." The cause of Fred's death was not disclosed.
Fred White was a musical prodigy, beginning his drumming career at the young age of nine. He quickly made a name for himself in the industry, earning his first gold record at the age of 16 for his work on Donny Hathaway's Live.
This album went on to be included on Rolling Stone's list of the 50 greatest live albums of all time. In 1974, Fred joined his brothers' band, Earth, Wind and Fire, just before they achieved widespread fame with the release of their sixth studio album, That's the Way of the World.
Both the album and its lead single, "Shining Star," reached the top of the Billboard charts.
Earth, Wind and Fire
Throughout their successful career, Earth, Wind and Fire went on to sell over 90 million records, solidifying their status as one of the best-selling bands of all time.
They were well-respected by critics, receiving 17 Grammy nominations and winning six. The band, founded in 1969, has seen over two dozen members come and go, but Fred White was part of the nine-man lineup that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Although his half-brother, Maurice White, the group's lead vocalist, co-founder, and producer, was a skilled drummer as well, it was Fred White who provided the percussion on some of Earth, Wind and Fire's biggest hits, such as "September," "Boogie Wonderland," and "Shining Star." We won't dare to forget what Fred gave to the group and the music industry as a whole.