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Maurice White's Death

Maurice White

The life and death of Maurice White:

Founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, he wrote, sang and produced their songs while serving as the band leader. And even though his career was slowed in the mid-1990's by Parkinson's Disease, forcing him to stop touring, he retained control of the group and remained active in the music business.

Maurice White was born in Memphis, Tennessee. His father was a doctor, who was also a part-time saxophone player. Maurice grew up in South Memphis, reared by his grandmother while making frequent trips to Chicago to visit his mom and dad. Forming a band while in high school, he later moved to Chicago where he attended the Conservatory of Music and playing drums in local nightclubs.

He did session work on drums at Chess Records, working with artists like Muddy Waters and Etta James. He also was the drummer on some major 1960's hit records, like "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass and "Summertime" by Billy Stewart.

Maurice also formed his own group, which eventually became Earth, Wind & Fire, the elements in his Astrological chart.

Along with his brother Verdine...

Maurice White performing

…and Fred, and other band members…

Maurice White performing with Earth, Wind and Fire

…EW&F had some major hits, including "Shining Star"…

…and "September", among others.

Maurice also produced records for Deniece Williams.

Nominated for 21 Grammy and winner of seven, Maurice is a member of the Rock and Roll hall of Fame as a member of EW&F and is considered a musical innovator by many.

Maurice White's long battle with Parkinson's Disease ended when he died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home at the age of 74.