Earth, Wind & Fire Drummer Fred White Has Died

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Photo Credit: Rob Verhorst/Redferns

Fred White, drummer of legendary soul, R&B and funk band Earth Wind & Fire died on New Year’s Day, although no cause of death was given.

Earth Wind & Fire drummer Fred White has died. The original and longtime member of the legendary soul, R&B and funk band was 67. On Monday (January 1), Verdine White, Fred’s sibling and fellow member of EWF wrote a statement on Instagram, saying that Fred “joins our brothers Maurice, Monte, and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels.”


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A post shared by Verdine White (@verdine_white)

Verdine added that Fred was a “wonderful bro” who was “always entertaining and delightfully mischievous!”

Also posting a tribute was rock musician and actor Lenny Kravitz: “Sending my love and deepest condolences to you and the family. I was blessed to have been in his presence and blessed to have been influenced by him. A true king. Rest in power,” he wrote on Instagram.

Born on January 13, 1955 in Chicago, Eugene ‘Freddie’ White began drumming at 9-years-old. Joining EWF – first known as The Salty Peppers – at 19-years-old in 1974, Fred went on to contribute drums on eight EWF albums and some of the group’s biggest hits, including “Boogie Wonderland,” “September” and “Shining Star.”

Prior to joining EWF, Fred was a drum prodigy, touring with Donny Hathaway before he completed high school. Although Fred temporarily left the group in the early-1980s, he returned for their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2000, continuing to contribute vocals to material for Bonnie Raitt and Diana Ross, including the latter’s 2021 comeback album, Thank You.

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