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Andrew Woolfolk, the former saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire, has died at the age of 71.
Also renowned for his accomplished work with other artists, Woolfolk died on Sunday 24 April of undisclosed causes.
Earth, Wind & Fire frontman Philip Bailey confirmed the news on Instagram, stating that Woolfolk had been “ill” for over six years.
“I met him in High School, and we quickly became friends and band mates,” wrote Bailey. “Andrew Paul Woolfolk was his name. We lost him today, after being ill of over 6 years. He has Transitioned on to the forever, from this Land of the dying to the Land of the Living.
“Great memories. Great Talent. Funny. Competitive. Quick witted. And always styling. Booski… I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.”
Born in Texas on 11 October 1950, Woolfolk met Bailey during his youth in Colorado.
Woolfolk studied saxophone under jazz titan Joe Henderson, and was drafted into Earth, Wind & Fire in 1973.
His first album with the group, Head to the Sky, was released that year, and went platinum. He then performed on several other Earth, Wind & Fire records, including 1975’s hit That’s the Way of the World .
In 1983, the band went on hiatus, during which time Woolfolk continued to play on other artists’ records. Among the artists he recorded with across his career were Level 42, Tracie Spencer, and Phil Collins.
Earth, Wind & Fire re-formed in 1987, with Woolfolk rejoining as the band’s saxophonist. He played with them for six more years before leaving in 1993.
In the year 2000, Woolfolk was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of Earth, Wind & Fire.