How are you related to Maurice White?

Connect to the World Family Tree to find out

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Maurice White

Also Known As: "Reece", "Reese", "Sandy"
Birthplace: Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
Death: February 04, 2016 (74)
At home, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States (complications of Parkinson's Disease)
Immediate Family:

Son of ?? White? and Edna Adams
Husband of Private
Father of Private; Private and Private
Half brother of Verdine White; Private; Private and Private

Occupation: Rock Musician with Earth, Wind & Fire
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Maurice White

Maurice White, born December 19 1941, died February 4 2016.

Founder and leader of Earth, Wind & Fire, "the biggest, showiest black music band of the 1970s." Earth, Wind & Fire was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and White into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2010.

Maurice White, musician - obituary 5:20PM GMT 05 Feb 2016

Maurice White, who has died aged 74, was the singer, songwriter, producer and guiding force behind Earth, Wind & Fire, the biggest black music act of the 1970s and the most popular group in the history of American soul, funk and R&B.

Incorporating disco-friendly elements of jazz, rock, pop, Latin American and African music styles, and with White’s tenor alternating on vocals with Philip Bailey’s falsetto, E,W&F notched up some 26 gold and platinum hits, including September; Boogie Wonderland; Fantasy; After the Love Has Gone; Shining Star; and a cover of the Beatles’ Got to Get You Into My Life.

E,W&F was the first black American group to champion its African cultural heritage, through extravagant stage costumes, mystical album cover art and the introduction of the kalimba, a small African thumb-piano that added a traditional element to their sound.

With the help of the choreographer George Faison and “hippie magician” Doug Henning and his assistant, a young David Copperfield, the group were also known for their elaborate shows – full of laser lights, flying pyramids and levitating guitarists – reflecting White’s interest in astrology and Egyptology.

The extravagance, however, was strictly confined to the stage; band members never succumbed to the drink and drugs lifestyle that brought a premature end to many other R&B careers. According to White’s brother and fellow band member Verdine White, it was Maurice (known to band-mates as “Reece”) who kept them on the straight and narrow. “We had fun but not like crazy,” Verdine recalled. “[Maurice] was a great taskmaster, a great visionary.”

By 1987, however, White was showing signs of the Parkinson’s disease that would force him to retire in 1994.


Maurice White was born on December 19 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee, and brought up by his grandmother, though he made frequent trips to stay with his mother and stepfather, a doctor, in Chicago. He was introduced to music from an early age - as his [step] father was both a doctor and occasional saxophonist, and he was the grandson of a New Orleans piano player.


White died in his sleep from the effects of Parkinson's disease at his home in Los Angeles, California, on the morning of February 4, 2016, at the age of 74.

He was survived by his wife, his two sons, and his brothers Verdine and Fred.

His brother Verdine posted the following on Facebook:

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. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

Yours Truly,

Verdine White

Maurice White (December 19, 1941 – February 3, 2016) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger and bandleader. He was the founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. He was also the older brother of current Earth, Wind & Fire member Verdine White, and former member Fred White. Maurice served as the band's main songwriter and record producer, and was co-lead singer along with Philip Bailey. White won seven Grammys, and was nominated for a total of twenty-one Grammys.

White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire, and was also inducted individually into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[4] Also known by his nickname "Reese", he worked with several famous recording artists including; Deniece Williams, the Emotions, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond.

White was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the late 1980s, which led him eventually to stop touring with Earth, Wind & Fire in 1994. However, White retained executive control of the band, and remained active in the music business.

view all

Maurice White's Timeline

December 19, 1941
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, United States
February 4, 2016
Age 74
At home, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States