Earth, Wind & Fire Drummer Fred White Dead at 67

"He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels," said brother Verdine

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jan 3, 2023

Earth, Wind & Fire percussionist Fred White has died. He was 67.

No cause of death has been made public, but fellow band member and brother Verdine White shared the news on social media late Sunday (January 1).

"Our family is saddened today with the loss of an amazing and talented family member, our beloved brother Frederick Eugene 'Freddie' White," the bassist wrote on Instagram. "He joins our brothers Maurice [White], Monte [White] and Ronald [Bautista] in heaven and is now drumming with the angels!"

Verdine went on to describe his "baby bro" as a "delightfully mischievous" person who could always be counted on to bring levity to any difficult situation.

Writing in the comments section, Lenny Kravitz said, "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."

Paying tribute with a post of her own, fellow famed drummer Sheila E. remembered White as "a mentor, an amazing drummer, and a man who had the biggest heart."

Fred White was a drum prodigy who toured with Donny Hathaway before he had even completed high school. In 1974, prior to his 20th birthday, he became the fourth White sibling in Earth, Wind & Fire's nine-piece original lineup. The band's commercial prime began the following year with No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Shining Star," commencing their path to becoming pop's leaders of the disco era.

The drummer departed Earth, Wind & Fire in the early '80s, returning in 2000 for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. White continued to work with other artists, singing with the likes of Diana Ross and Bonnie Raitt and most recently performing on the former's 2021 comeback album.

Earth, Wind & Fire's co-founding vocalist, Fred's brother Maurice White, died in 2016, while the band's longstanding saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk passed away last year.

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