The Memphis native was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the late ‘80s, forcing him off the stage by 1994.
He founded Earth, Wind & Fire in 1969, and is the older brother of fellow member Verdine White. He was also a producer, co-lead singer, and main writer for the group.
Born in December 1941, he would relocate from Tennessee to Chicago after high school. It was there that White was introduced to the music business as an employee of Chess Recording Company, where he worked for five years.
More than four decades after Earth Wind & Fire started, they remain one of the staple R&B/funk bands in music, with 21 Grammy nominations (winning six), a dozen American Music Awards nominations (four wins), inductions into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk Fame.
Their long list of hits include “After the Love Has Gone,” “Shinning Star,” and “September.”