Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire dies

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White has passed away. He was 74 years old.

According to reports, the singer died in his sleep overnight. A statement by his brother Verdine White was soon posted on the band’s Facebook page.

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep. While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”

White founded the group (named for the three elements in White’s astrological sign Sagittarius) in the late 1960s, and went on to writing horn-driven music with infectious melodies that was loved all over the world. Some of the band’s hits include “September,” “Shining Star,” “Reasons,” “That’s The Way of the World,” and “Boogie Wonderland.”

At the time of the band’s Hall of Fame induction in 2000, White revealed that he had Parkinson’s Disease. This is one of the reasons why he stopped touring with the band in 1995.

In an interview with the Associated Press in 2000, he said that he wanted his music to inspire: “That was the whole objective, to try to inspire young people to believe in themselves and to follow through on their ideas,” he said. “We’ve touched so many people with these songs.”

In another interview with Newsweek, White talked about the ability of music to heal: “We live in a negative society,” he said. “Most people can’t see beauty and love. I see our music as medicine.