Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White, whose band sold more than 90 million albums and had hits including September, Shining Star and Boogie Wonderland, has died at his home in Los Angeles.
White, who was 74, suffered from Parkinson's Disease and had retreated from the public even as the band he founded kept performing.
"My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep," Verdine White, also a member of the band, said.
"While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes."
Earth, Wind & Fire, a nine-piece band featuring the two White brothers, singer Philip Bailey and a distinctive horn section, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
The band's most successful period started with the 1975 album That's The Way Of The World and continued through the rest of the decade.
Other hits included Serpentine Fire, That's The Way Of The World and a cover of the Beatles' Got To Get You Into My Life.
White publicly revealed he had Parkinson's at the time of the band's Hall of Fame induction, but he had shown symptoms of the neurological disease back in the 1980s.
He stopped touring with the band in 1995 because of weariness from the road combined with his health problems.