Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk dead at 71

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Earth, Water & Fire’s saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk has died. He was 71. 

The band’s lead singer, Philip Bailey, took to Instagram to share the sad news. He posted an image alongside his longtime friend and detailed their relationship. 

“I met him in High School, and we quickly became friends and band mates,” Bailey began. “Andrew Paul Woolfolk was his name. We lost him today, after being ill of over 6 years.

Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk dead at 71

Musician Andrew Woolfolk died at age 71 after being ill for 6 years.
(Michael Putland/Getty Images)

“He has Transitioned on to the forever, from this Land of the dying to the Land of the Living. Great memories. Great Talent. Funny. Competitive. Quick witted. And always styling. Booski…  I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.” 

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Woolfolk was a part of Earth, Wind & Fire during some of the band’s most prominent years and contributed to some of its biggest hits, including “September” and “Boogie Wonderland.”

Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk dead at 71

Andrew Woolfolk of Earth, Wind and Fire in March 1982 at Wembley Arena.
(Solomon NJie/GettyImages)

The band skyrocketed to fame and won six Grammys as a group, selling tens of millions of records during the 70s and 80s. 

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Woolfolk took a break from the band in the ‘80s and ’90s but made his return in the early 2000s. 

During his hiatus, he collaborated with artists like Deniece Williams, Stanley Turrentine, Phil Collins, Twennynine, Philip Bailey and Level 42. 

He was a member of Earth, Wind & Fire when the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk dead at 71

L to R: Johnny Grahm, Larry Dunn, Andrew Woolfolk, Al McKay, Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Freddy White, Ralph Johnson.
(Gems/Redferns)

Woolfolk was notoriously private about his personal life and never disd if he was married or had any children. 

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The band’s early sound was jazzy, but evolved into an exuberant, horn-driven mix of jazz, funk, gospel and big band. That band found success onstage, its concerts a mix of dancing, fog machines, multi-colored lights and glittery costumes. Earth, Wind & Fire performed at the Super Bowl and the White House.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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