Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White dies at 74

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Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White has died at the age of 74.

White's health had declined in the last few months as a result of a long battle with Parkinsons disease, which had plagued him since the 1980s and forced him to stop touring in 1994.

White founded the legendary funk-soul band alongside his brothers Verdine and Fred and served as the song's chief songwriter and producer. He shared vocal duties with lead singer Philip Bailey. The group's hits include "Shining Star," "Sing a Song," "September" and "Boogie Wonderland."

PHOTOS: A look back at Maurice White

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Maurice White - Earth Wind and Fire
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Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White dies at 74
NEW YORK: Maurice White from Earth Wind And Fire performs live on stage in New York in 1979 (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 28: AHOY Photo of EARTH WIND & FIRE and Maurice WHITE, Maurice White performing on stage (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 28: AHOY Photo of EARTH WIND & FIRE and Ralph JOHNSON and Maurice WHITE, Ralph Johnson (L) and Maurice White performing on stage (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1980: Photo of Earth Wind & Fire & Maurice White (Photo by Bobby Holland/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - 1986: Former singer, drummer and music producer, Maurice White, poses during a 1986 Los Angeles, California, photo portrait session. White was the founder of the 1970s group Earth, Wind & Fire. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
OAKLAND - DECEMBER 1: Maurice White performs with Earth, Wind and Fire at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California - December 1, 1979 (Photo by Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1980: Photo of Earth Wind & Fire & Maurice White (Photo by Bobby Holland/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 28: AHOY Photo of EARTH WIND & FIRE and Maurice WHITE and Philip BAILEY, Maurice White and Philip Bailey (R) performing on stage (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
LOS ANGELES - 1985: Singer Maurice White poses for a portrait in 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)
Earth Wind And Fire perform on stage, UK, 1977, Maurice White, Philip Bailey. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire. during Earth Wind & Fire In Concert At The Greek Theater at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)
Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 11: Singers Stevie Wonder (R) and Maurice White of the band Earth, Wind and Fire perform during the inaugural 'Grammy Jam Fest' at the Wiltern Theatre December 11, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. The event celebrated the music of Earth, Wind and Fire and raised funds for various arts charities. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
Verdine White and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage)
Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Maurice White and Maurice Hines during 'The Pajama Game' Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals at American Airlines Theatre in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage)
Maurice White and Isaac Hayes during Ray Charles Post 2005 GRAMMY Awards Party in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic)
Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson and Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Ralph Johnson, Philip Bailey and Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire (Photo by John Sciulli/WireImage)
Bass guitar player of Earth, Wind & Fire, Verdine White, right, applauds his older brother and the band's leader, Maurice, as the group is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the 15th Anuual induction dinner in New York Monday evening, March 6, 2000. The band, which rose to prominence in the Seventies, solidified the growth of black album music as it brought together the earlier sounds of jazz, blues, R&B, pop, gospel, funk and deep soul. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Members of Earth, Wind & Fire surround the band's leader and founder Maurice White, center, as they perform following the group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York Monday evening, March 6, 2000. The band, which rose to prominence in the Seventies, solidified the growth of black album music as it brought together the earlier sounds of jazz, blues, R&B, pop, gospel, funk and deep soul. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Earth, Wind & Fire band members from left: Philip Bailey, Maurice White, Ralph Johnson, and Verdine White pose for a photo during the news conference announcing the nominations for the Black Entertainment Television (BET) awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Earth, Wind & Fire are nominated for a Lifetime Achivement Award. The 2nd Annual BET Awards will air on June 25th. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Earth, Wind, and Fire members, left to right, Verdine White, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, and Ralph Johnson hold up their hands after leaving imprints at the Hollywood Rock Walk during their induction ceremony Monday, July 7, 2003, in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Earth, Wind, and Fire members, from left, Verdine White, Maurice White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson, leave their hand imprints at the Hollywood Rock Walk at a ceremony in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, Monday, July 7, 2003. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Maurice White performs at the Earth,Wind and Fire "Grammy Jam" event held at The Wiltern LG in Los Angeles, Ca. Saturday Dec. 11, 2004.(AP Photo/Phil McCarten)
Earth, Wind, and Fire members, from left, Verdine White, Philip Bailey, Maurice White, and Ralph Johnson, hold up the plaques from their induction at the Hollywood Rock Walk at a ceremony in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, Monday, July 7, 2003. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Song writer David Porter, left, and Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire arrive together for a service honoring Isaac Hayes at Hope Presbyterian Church, Monday, Aug. 18, 2008, in Cordova, Tenn. Porter and Hayes were song writing partners. Hayes died of a stroke on Aug. 10. (AP Photo/Bill Waugh)
Musician Maurice White (L) and Captain Morgan attend the Primary Wave Music Publishing pre-Grammy celebration, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 in Los Angeles. (Shea Walsh / AP Images for Captain Morgan)
Singer Maurice White attends the Primary Wave Music Publishing pre-Grammy celebration sponsored by Captain Morgan, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 in Los Angeles. (Shea Walsh / AP Images for Captain Morgan)
Members of Earth Wind and Fire, Verdine White, left, Phillip Bailey, and Maurice White, right, pause on the red carpet before the Soul Train Awards on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 07: (L-R) Musicians Verdine White, Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire attend the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons honoring Martin Bandier on February 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Musicians Maurice White (L) and Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire attend the Sony Music Entertainment 2015 Post-Grammy Reception at The Palm on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Sony Music Entertainment)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 16: (L-R) Verdine White, Maurice White and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind and Fire attend The Grove's 12th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Spectacular at The Grove on November 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire attend The Grove's 12th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Spectacular at The Grove on November 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 07: (L-R) Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Maurice White of Earth Wind And Fire performs on stage at the 'Jardins de Pedralbes Festival' on July 7, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Miquel Benitez/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 22: (L-R) Verdine White, Phillip Bailey and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire peform on stage at O2 Arena on July 22, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Kent/Redferns)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 14: Maurice White of Earth Wind And Fire performs at Whitney Hall on June 14, 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)
Verdine White (L), Maurice White (R) and Philip Bailey (C) of Earth, Wind & Fire perform during the celebration of TAG Heuer Link series at miX Lounge at Mandalay Bay on June 3, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steven Lawton/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 04: Musician Maurice White arrives at the 42nd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on March 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 07: Photo of EARTH WIND & FIRE and Verdine WHITE and Ralph JOHNSON and Philip BAILEY; Group portrait L-R Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)
MALIBU, CA - JULY 21: Actress Holly Robinson Peete, producer Quincy Jones (2nd R) and former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete (R) honor musician Maurice White (2nd L) onstage at the 'Designcare 2007' celebrity benefit thrown by actress Holly Robinson Peete and husband Rodney Peete, held at a private estate on July 21, 2007 in Malibu, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 09: APOLLO THEATER Photo of EARTH, WIND & FIRE Verdine WHITE, Ralph JOHNSON and Philip BAILEY, group portrait of Earth, Wind & Fire as they arrive at the 4th annual Apollo Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony L-R Verdine White, Ralph Johnson and Philip Bailey (Photo by GNA/Redferns)
Terry Lewis and Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire (Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of EARTH WIND & FIRE; L to R: Johnny Grahm, Larry Dunn, Andrew Woolfolk, Al McKay, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Freddy White, Ralph Johnson (Photo by Gems/Redferns)
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The musician has seven Grammy wins and 21 nominations under his belt. EWF was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. White also appears in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame.

The Associated Press confirmed his death Thursday afternoon.

PHOTOS: Celebrities we lost in 2015
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Celebrity deaths 2015
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Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White dies at 74

January 1 -- Donna Douglas, actress best known for her role in "The Beverly Hillbillies."

(AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

January 7 -- Rod Taylor, actor best known for this leading role in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

January 9 -- Samuel Goldwyn Jr., was a famous producer and the father of "Scandal" star Tony Goldwyn.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage)

January 10 -- Taylor Negron, was best known for his character roles in films "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Stuart Little."

(Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

January 11 -- Anita Eckberg, actress best known for her role in "La Dolce Vita." 

 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

February 16 -- Lesley Gore, singer best known for the 60's hit "It's My Party."

(Photo by James Kriegsmann/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

February 16 -- Lorena Rojas, telenovela actress.

(Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

February 27 -- Leonard Nimoy, actor known for his role as Mr. Spock in "Star Trek."

(Photo by Inter-News/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

March 8 - Sam Simon, a director, producer and writer, best known for co-creating "The Simpsons." (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

March 10 -- Richard Glatzer, writer and director best known for his Award-winning work, "Still Alice."

(Photo by Peter Bregg/Getty Images)

April 1 -- Cynthia Lennon, first wife of John and mother to musician Julian Lennon.

(Photo by Cummings Archives/Redferns)

April 6 -- James Best, actor best known for his role in "The Dukes of Hazzard".  (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

April 7 -- Geoffrey Lewis, actor and father of actress Juliette Lewis. Lewis regularly played opposite Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood in films.

 (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

April 14 -- Percy Sledge, singer best known for the hit "When a Man Loves a Woman."

(Photo by Suzie Gibbons/Redferns)

April 23 -- Sawyer Sweeten (L), actor known for his role in "Everybody Loves Raymond" and died at age 19.

(Photo by Mike FANOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

April 30 -- Ben E. King, singer best known for the massive hit "Stand by Me."

 (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)

May 1 -- Grace Lee Whitney, actress best known for her role on "Star Trek."

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

May 6 -- Errol Brown, best known as the frontman for the soul and funk band Hot Chocolate. He died at age 71 

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

May 14 -- B.B. King, legendary blues musician, who won dozens of awards for his music. He died at the age of 89.

 (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP)

June 7 -- Christopher Lee, actor best known for his role in "The Lord of the Rings" franchise. Lee died at the age of 893.

(Photo: Getty Images) 

June 22 -- James Horner, composer best known for creating the music for "Titanic," for which he won an Academy Award. Horner also scored "Aliens," "Braveheart," "Avatar," and more popular films. 

 (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)

July 3 -- Amanda Peterson, actress best known for her role in the popular 80's film "Can't Buy Me Love," co-starring Patrick Dempsey. Peterson died at the age of 43. 

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

July 3 -- Diana Douglas, actress and wife of actor Kirk Douglas, mother of Michael Douglas. She is known for her comedic film, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." 

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

July 6 -- Jerry Weintraub, Emmy award-winning producer and talent agent best known for his work on films like the "Ocean's Eleven" franchise.

(Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)

July 9 -- Christian Audigier, clothing designer known for his Ed Hardy and Von Dutch lines. Audigier died at the age of 57.

 (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage)

July 10 -- Omar Sharif, actor known for his roles in "Doctor Zhivago" and "Lawrence of Arabia." 

(Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

July 18 -- Alex Rocco, actor best known for his role in "The Godfather." He won an Emmy Award for his role on the television comedy series, "The Famous Teddy Z." (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

July 26 -- Bobbi Kristina Brown, singer, actress and television personality. She was the daughter of Whitney Houston who died in a similarly tragic circumstance in 2012. Bobbi Kristina died at the age of 22.

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)

July 30 -- Lynn Anderson, Grammy award-winning country music artist known for songs like "Top of the World" and "Rose Garden." 

 (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) 

July 31 --"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, wrestler and actor. He died at the age of 61.

 (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage for BWR Public Relations)

August 7 -- Uggie the Dog, actor best known for his role in "The Artist."

 (Photo by Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)

August 9 -- Frank Gifford, football player and television sports commentator. He was married to talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford and a father of 5 and died at the age of 84.

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

August 17 -- Yvonne Craig, dancer and actress, best known for her role as Batgirl on the "Batman" television series.

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) 

August 30 -- Wes Craven, filmmaker well-known for his horror film franchise "The Nightmare on Elm Street." He also created the "Scream" franchise. He died at the age of 76. 

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

September 1 -- Dean Jones, actor known for his role of Jim Douglas in "The Love Bug" films. 

(Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images)

September 3 -- Judy Carne, actress best known for her comedic roles on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh‑In" and "Love on a Rooftop."

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

September 4 -- Jean Darling, child actress known for her role in "My Gang."

(Photo by Film Favorites/Getty Images)

September 6 -- Martin Milner, actor best known for his roles in the 1960's television shows "Route 66" and "Adam-12."

(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

September 19 -- Gary Richrath, guitarist for the band REO Speedwagon.

(Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

September 19 -- Jackie Collins, novelist and sister of actress Joan Collins. 

(AP Photo/File)

September 28 -- Catherine Coulson, actress known for her role as the Log Lady on David Lynch's "Twin Peaks."

(Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) 

October 24 -- Maureen O'Hara, prominent 1940's actress, she received an honorary Academy Award in 2014. She starred in "The Parent Trap" and "The  Miracle on 34th Street." 

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

November 4 -- Melissa Mathison, screenwriter best known for writing "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" and her marriage Harrison Ford.  (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage for Mann Productions)

November 16 -- David Canary, actor best known for his role on "All My Children."

(AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

November 23 -- Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter and vocalist of the band Sly and the Family Stone.

 (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

December 3 -- Scott Weiland, lead singer of the alternative rock band Stone Temple Pilots. He died at the age of 48.

(Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

December 4 -- Robert Loggia, actor known for Jagged Edge, which he was nominated for an Academy Award. He also starred in "Big" and "Scarface."

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

December 6 -- Holly Woodlawn, one of the first known transgender actresses. She was a muse of Andy Warhol and inspiration for Lou Reed's 'Wild Side'

(Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

December 13 -- Rose Siggins, actress best known for her role in "American Horror Story: Freak Show."

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

December 28 -- Lemmy Kilmister, frontman of the rock band Motörhead.

(Photo by Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

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