Washington, Feb 6: President Barack Obama mourned Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White for his "quintessentially American sound," hailing the funk legend for bringing together fans across racial lines.
Obama has long described himself as a fan of Earth, Wind & Fire, who hailed from his adopted home of Chicago. Obama, the first African-American president, invited the band to play an event at the White House shortly after he took office in 2009.
With his bandmates, "Maurice fused jazz, soul, funk and R&B into a quintessentially American sound that captured millions of fans around the world," Obama wrote on Facebook yesterday. "Only Maurice could make such sophisticated songs so catchy.
Only he could inspire generations of such diverse artists.
"And only he could get everyone -- old and young, black and white -- to let the groove move them on the dance floor," he wrote. Earth, Wind & Fire won over a broad audience through its feel-good dance anthems and in 1979 became the first African-American act to sell out Madison Square Garden in New York.
White, who suffered for years from Parkinson's disease, died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles at age 74, according to his brother and bandmate Verdine White.