Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White Honored by President Obama

“He is the shining star in heaven tonight,” president says

Maurice White, the Earth, Wind & Fire founder who died Wednesday night at age 74, received a heartfelt tribute from President Obama via the chief executive’s Facebook page on Friday.

Obama remembered White as an inspiration to both his fellow musicians and the general public.

“Only Maurice could make such sophisticated songs so catchy. Only he could inspire generations of such diverse artists,” Obama wrote. “And only he could get everyone — old and young, black and white — to let the groove move them on the dance floor.”

White, who formed the group in 1969, died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday night. He had long battled Parkinson’s Disease, a condition that forced him to stop touring with the group in the 1990s, though he still maintained executive control of Earth, Wind & Fire.

Calling the Earth, Wind & Fire catalog — which includes hits such as “September,” “That’s the Way of the World” and “Shining Star” — “timeless,” Obama concluded, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Maurice’s family, friends and bandmates. He is the shining star in heaven tonight.”

In a statement provided to TheWrap on Thursday, White’s brother and Earth, Wind & Fire bandmate Verdine White said, “My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep. While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives.”

Generated by IJG JPEG Library

Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2016 (Photos)

Partners

Featured