Fred White, a former drummer for Earth, Wind & Fire, has passed away, reports the New York Times. He was 67 years old.
His passing was confirmed in a statement by his brother and Earth, Wind & Fire bassist Verdine White on Instagram. A cause of death was not disclosed.
"Our family is saddened today with the loss of an amazing and talented family member, our beloved brother Frederick Eugene 'Freddie' White," Verdine White’s statement read. He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte, and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels!” 🥁🥁
“Child protégé, member of the EWF ORIGINAL 9, with gold records at the young age of 16 years old! He was brother number 4 in the family lineup,” his statement continued.
Lastly, he thanked the group’s fans for the outpouring of love they've shown during this difficult time.
“We thank you all for your love, blessings, and support at this time,” he added. “Soar high baby bro, we love you to the shining ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️and back!”
Born Fredrick Eugene Adams on Jan. 13, 1955, in Chicago, White began drumming at the age of 9. He went on to perform with Linda Ronstadt and Donny Hathaway before joining Earth, Wind & Fire in 1974. He was the fourth of the White brothers to perform in the legendary band that was founded by his oldest brother Maurice White.
When he joined the band, they achieved their greatest success during an unprecedented run. He played on “Shinin’ Star,” “September,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “After the Love is Gone,” and many others. The group scored seven Top 10 pop singles and had eight consecutive Top 10 albums from 1975-81, including the live set Gratitude during their peak. Earth, Wind & Fire won six Grammys and was nominated 17 times.
Outside of EWF, White played with the Emotions, Deniece Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, Ramsey Lewis, Jennifer Holliday and Diana Ross. His most recent collaboration was with Ross on her 2021 album, Thank You.
White left the group in the mid-1980s, but he returned for the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Although the EWF sound was anchored by The Phenix Horns, White’s tight pocket drumming was essential to the band’s success.
“Fred was the brick wall,” Maurice White wrote in his memoir My Life with Earth, Wind & Fire. “He provided a rock-solid tempo and a rock-solid feel, priceless qualities in a drummer. He was one of the best things going for us.”
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Fred White.