American drummer Fred White of funk band Earth, Wind & Fire has died at the age of 67, his brother and a former member of the band announced on Monday. Born in 1955 in Chicago (Illinois, north), White had started playing the drums at a very young age. During his career, he won six Grammy Awards with the legendary funk band formed in 1969 by his brother, Maurice White, who passed away in 2016.
“Our family is saddened today by the loss of an incredible and talented family member,” another of his brothers, Verdine White, wrote in an Instagram post, recalling that he had “gold records from the age of 16!”
Earth, Wind & Fire quickly rose to fame in the 1970s, becoming one of the first to break racial taboos in pop music and enjoying immense success within both the white and African-American community.
In 1979 the group was the first African-American group to perform to sold-out houses at the prestigious Madison Square Garden from New York. On the band’s official Instagram page was posted a video of White performing a drum solo at a concert in Germany in 1979 along with the message “Rest in love”. He then worked with other artists, including soul singer Deniece Williams.
White, as a member of the band Earth, Wind & Fire, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, American rock and popular music hall of fame. The group distinguished itself through its songs but also through its shows filled with energy, punctuated by a strong presence of brass instruments and a kalimba, an African percussion instrument made of metal slats.
Without ever having completely left the stage, the group experienced a resurgence of notoriety after the election of the president Barack Obamawho had invited him among the first artists to perform after entering the White House in 2009.