Earth, Wind & Fire Drummer Fred White Dies at 67

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Earth, Wind & Fire drummer Fred White has died at the age of 67.

Born Frederick Eugene Adams in Chicago, Illinois, on January 13, 1955, White was a drum prodigy. He joined the legendary Donny Hathaway on tour as a teen and appears on Hathaway’s critically acclaimed 1972 live album, Live. Just before he turned 20, White joined the iconic funk-soul group, Earth, Wind & Fire, alongside his brother and half-brother, Verdine and Maurice, respectively.

His skills have been immortalized on hits like “September” and “Shining Star.” White left the group in the 1980s, but rejoined Earth, Wind & Fire for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He continued to perform until his death, most notably appearing on Diana Ross’ 2021 album, Thank You.

News of his passing was shared by Verdine in an Instagram post on Sunday (Jan. 1). He wrote, “Our family is saddened today with the loss of an amazing and talented family member, our beloved brother Frederick Eugene “Freddie” White.

“He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels!,” he continued. “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. But more than that at home and beyond he was the wonderful bro that was always entertaining and delightfully mischievous!

“He will live in our hearts forever, rest in power beloved Freddie!!,” Verdine added before closing his message.

No cause of death has been given at this time. See the full post below.

Lead vocalist Philip Bailey also shared his respects to his late bandmate. “Ralph Johnson and I, with Fred White in the middle… doing what we love,” Bailey captioned a photo on Instagram. “The best of times. We will miss you, Freddie.”

White’s death comes just eight months after the passing of Earth, Wind & Fire’s longtime saxophonist, Andrew Woolfolk, who died in April 2022 at 71. The musician’s death was confirmed by Bailey.

“I met him in High School, and we quickly became friends and bandmates,” Bailey wrote on a social media post in April. “Andrew Paul Woolfolk was his name. We lost him today, after being ill for over 6 years.” 

(Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

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