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Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Dies at 74

FILE - From left, Philip Bailey, Maurice White and Ralph Johnson of Earth Wind & Fire are inducted at the Hollywood Rock Walk in Los Angeles, July 7, 2003. White died at home in Los Angeles Feb. 3, 2016.

Maurice White, the founder of rock group Earth, Wind &Fire, has died at age 74.

White's brother Verdine, also a founding member of the band, confirmed the death of his brother on Thursday. White had suffered from Parkinson's disease and retreated from the public eye in recent years, though the rest of the band continued performing.

Verdine White told The Associated Press that his brother "passed away peacefully in his sleep" at his home in Los Angeles.

Maurice White, born in 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee, founded Earth, Wind &Fire in 1969 and later said he hoped to use the band's mixture of jazz, funk, and rhythm-and-blues to create a positive influence on the world. He named the band using the signs on his astrological chart.

The band's greatest early success came in the mid-1970s with hits such as Shining Star, Sing a Song, and a cover of the Beatles' Got to Get You Into My Life, which was featured in the 1978 movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

White also scored a hit with his 1985 solo album, which featured a successful cover of the song Stand By Me.

Over the course of his career, White earned seven Grammys and co-produced hits for other artists such as Barbra Streisand and Deniece Williams. He and bandmate Al McKay also won a Grammy for co-writing the 1977 hit Best of My Love for the Emotions.

Earth, Wind & Fire was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, after which White began to retreat from public life.

But his memoir, Keep Your Head to the Sky, is scheduled to be released in September, and the group is to be honored with a lifetime achievement award at this year's Grammy awards February 15.

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