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Tributes paid to Earth, Wind & Fire singer and co-founder Maurice White

Music legend Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire died "peacefully" at the age of 74, according to his brother. White was known for his iconic style and for breaking through racial barriers.

Maurice White, co-founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died in his sleep at his Los Angeles home on Wednesday at age 74. The musical icon, who broke racial barriers in pop music, reportedly suffered from Parkinson's disease for years.

His brother and band mate, Verdine White, took to Facebook to tell of his passing, writing, "My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep."

His post continued, "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."

Earth, Wind & Fire's official Twitter page featured a response to White's death:

Stars throughout the entertainment industry chimed in with tributes, including producer Quincy Jones:

Many fans also took to Twitter to express their sadness and respect for the singer:

Maurice White and his brother formed the pop music group Earth, Wind & Fire in Chicago, Illinois, in 1969. The band found big success in the 1970s and became an icon of funk and soul music, selling nearly 100 million albums worldwide. Some of their top hits include "September," "Shining Star," "After the Love Has Gone" and "Boogie Wonderland."

The group won six Grammy Awards out of a total 17 nominations and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. The group is due to be honored this year with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Maurice White was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.

smm/gsw (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)