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Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire in 2004

Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

Maurice White, co-founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, has died after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. According to TMZ, White died Thursday in Los Angeles at the age of 74. As co-founder of the group, White also served as the band's main songwriter and record producer and was co-lead singer with Philip Bailey.

White was born Dec. 19, 1941, in Memphis, Tenn. He got his start in music as a teenager and worked with such greats as Etta James, Muddy Waters, the Impressions, the Dells and Buddy Guy.

During White's time with Earth, Wind & Fire, the group won six Grammy Awards, an NAACP Hall of Fame Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and four American Music Awards. Over three decades, the group sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.

White was diagnosed with Parkinson's in the early 1990s and stopped touring with the group in 1994. In 2000 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and White was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

Among those White leaves behind are his wife and two sons as well as his younger brothers, Verdine, an original member of the group, and Fred, who was also a member.

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Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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