Who is Fred White? Former Earth, Wind & Fire drummer dies at 67

Fred White performed with Earth, Wind and Fire alongside his two brothers, Maurice and Verdine   (AP)
Fred White performed with Earth, Wind and Fire alongside his two brothers, Maurice and Verdine (AP)

Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White has died aged 67.

Described as a “true king” by singer Lenny Kravitz, the musician passed away on Sunday, January 1, with his brother, Verdine White, announcing the news on social media recently.

A statement shared on Instagram on Monday, January 2, read: “Dearest family, friends and fans, our family is saddened today with the loss of an amazing and talented family member, our beloved brother Frederick Eugene ‘Freddie’ White.”

Verdine added that his brother will join Earth, Wind & Fire star Maurice White, lead vocalist Roland Bautista, and former manager Monte Keith White “in heaven”.

Fans have paid tribute to the talented drummer on Twitter.

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Early career

Fred White was born Frederick Eugene Adams in 1955, in Chicago, USA.

From a young age, White demonstrated an impressive musical talent and was described as a child prodigy.

He began drumming at nine years old, and by the age of 15, he formed a band with Donny Hathaway called The Salty Peppers.

He quickly made a name for himself in the music industry and was well-known for his collaborations with other legendary artists, including Diana Ross.

Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire was originally founded by Fred’s brother, Maurice White, in 1969.

White joined the band soon after its conception and became an active member until the early 1980s.

In 2000, the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, with White appearing alongside the group. The band won a total of six Grammy awards and four American Music Awards.

Their impressive run also saw the group being part of the Kennedy Center Honours in 2019, which is an annual award given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

The statement announcing his death further read that “above all and beyond, Freddie was an amazing brother who would always entertain others and was delightfully mischievous”.

His brother continued: “Freddie could have been counted upon to make unpleasant situations light-hearted. Freddie will always live in our hearts.”