Chicago-born White, a drummer prodigy, was one of the first members to join the group formed by his older brothers Maurice and Verdine.
The singer, co-founder and producer of Earth, Wind and Fire started his career as a drummer, it was Fred who played percussion on Earth Wind and Fire’s biggest hits like “September”, “Boogie Wonderland” and “Shining Star”. ”
Longtime Earth, Wind and Fire frontman Philip Bailey paid tribute to White on Twitter, writing: “EWF. This family groove foundation. It was built on Maurice, Verdine and Freddy. We never had to say much… The groove was in our blood… RIP, my little brother.”
Bassist Verdine said his “amazing and talented” sibling would now be “drumming with the angels”.
Among the tributes to White, singer Lenny Kravitz called him a “true king” and said he was “blessed” to have been influenced by him.
White began drumming at the age of nine and performed on his first gold record, Donny Hathaway’s Live, when he was just 16.
In 1974 he joined Earth Wind & Fire, whose best known hits include September and Boogie Wonderland.
A year later, the group rose to fame with their triple platinum album That’s the Way of the World.
With more than 90 million records sold worldwide, the funk and soul formation became one of the best-selling groups of all time.
Earth Wind & Fire: How Maurice White made them a positive force
Over the years, the group has won six Grammys and four American Music Awards, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Fred’s death was announced on Instagram by Verdine White, who gave no reason.
“Our family is saddened today by the loss of an amazing and talented family member, our beloved brother, Frederick Eugene ‘Freddie’ White,” he wrote.
In addition to his success as a drummer, White was a wonderful brother who was “always entertaining and delightfully mischievous,” he added.
“We could always count on him to make what seemed a bad situation lighter! He will live in our hearts forever, rest in strength beloved Freddie!”
In response, 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.