- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2016

Maurice White, the leader of legendary R&B band Earth, Wind & Fire, has died after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 74.

According to a report Thursday in TMZ, later confirmed by his brother, Mr. White died in Los Angeles in his sleep, more than 20 years after the disease ended his touring career with Earth, Wind & Fire.

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” Verdine White told The Associated Press on Thursday. “While the world has lost another great musician and legend … thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”

Earth, Wind & Fire was one of the most popular groups of the 1970s, playing a blend of R&B, funk and disco, along with a distinctive horn section.

Mr. White was the group’s front man and shared lead-singing duties with Philip Bailey.

The group’s biggest hits included “September,” “Let’s Groove,” “Shining Star” and “Got to Get You Into My Life.” His brothers Verdine and Fred were also members of the group, which always had a large and shifting cast outside the Whites-Bailey core.

Mr. White also worked as a producer for many other acts, being particularly instrumental in making stars of Deniece Williams and the Emotions, the latter of whom had a chart-topping collaboration with Earth, Wind and Fire, “Boogie Wonderland.”

Mr. White, either by himself or as a member of Earth Wind and Fire, won seven Grammys and the group is scheduled to be among the recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards at the next ceremony, set for Feb. 15 in Los Angeles.

As leader and producer, Mr. White was known for some eccentric practices — the group reportedly wouldn’t start recording an album until the astrological signs aligned correctly. And in an musical era known for flashy styles, Earth, Wind and Fire was among of the flashiest, wearing garish and glittery costumes and staging elaborate concerts.

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