Rumors surfaced online today that Earth Wind & Fire member Maurice White had died.
Celebrities immediately began extending condolences despite no official confirmation that the 71-year-old Grammy winner had passed. Someone even updated his Wikipedia page to list a date of death.
Now it is confirmed that the death reports were just a cyber hoax. Earth Wind & Fire released a statement confirming that the 71-year-old Grammy winner is actually still alive.
“Maurice White is alive and doing well! The rumors across the web are false. Please spread the word,” the group announced via their official Facebook page.
The band’s rep also sent me the following statement: “The rumor is false. Maurice is healthy and happy at home for the holidays.”
Apparently the death rumors started because the “Steve Harvey Morning Show” played a musical tribute to him on their Friday broadcast to acknowledge his birthday that was on Dec. 19. The tribute was originally slated to run on Wednesday, but they didn’t get a chance to play it.
Steve Harvey also celebrated the impact that White has made on modern music, so listeners who heard the musical tribute assumed it was because White had died.
White just completed a memoir that is slated to be released in 2013 and Harvey actually wrote the forward for the book.
The Memphis-born singer/songwriter/producer—who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 along with his Earth Wind & Fire group members Phillip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson—was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the late 1980’s. His disease caused him to stop touring with his group in 1994.
After he stopped touring, White wrote songs for the movies “Coming to America” and “Undercover Brother.”
White served as the executive producer of an Earth, Wind & Fire tribute album entitled “Interpretations: Celebrating The Music Of Earth, Wind & Fire” that was released in March 2007. The critically acclaimed album includes remakes of classic Earth, Wind & Fire’s classic songs by Chaka Khan, Kirk Franklin, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Musiq Soulchild, Angie Stone, Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Mint Condition, and The Randy Watson Experience.