Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter
Fred White, the former drummer of Earth, Wind & Fire, has died aged 67, his family have announced.
The musician began drumming professionally as a teenager and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 alongside fellow members of the US band.
A statement shared on Instagram by his brother and bandmate Verdine White, said: “Dearest family, friends and fans, 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!
“Child protege, member of the EWF ORIGINAL 9, with gold records at the young age of 16 years old! He was brother number four in the family line-up.
“But more than that at home and beyond he was the wonderful bro that was always entertaining and delightfully mischievous!
“And we could always count on him to make a seemingly bad situation more light hearted!
“He will live in our hearts forever, rest in power beloved Freddie!!
“We thank you all for your love, blessings and support at this time. Soar high baby bro, we love you to the shining and back!”
American singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz remembered White as a “true king” as he paid tribute.
Commenting under Verdine’s Instagram post, Kravitz wrote: “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.”
The band’s official Instagram page also posted a video of White solo drumming at a concert at Rockpalast in Essen, Germany as part of their Tour of the World in 1979 in tribute to the late musician.
Earth, Wind & Fire were formed in the late 1960s by White’s brother Maurice, who died aged 74 in 2016, and featured a host of different musicians throughout the years.
White was one of the founding members of the group and played on many of the band’s hit albums and songs including September, Boogie Wonderland, Saturday Nite and Shining Star.
He also featured on tracks by American singers Donny Hathaway and Jennifer Holliday.