Andrew Woolfolk, longtime saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire, has died aged 71.
The band’s lead singer Philip J. Bailey announced Woolfolk’s death on Instagram on Monday. “We lost him today, after being sick for over 6 years,” Bailey wrote, alongside a photo of the two. “He made the transition to eternity, from this land of the dying to the land of the living.”
Bailey did not elaborate on the illness Woolfolk was battling.
The Earth, Wind & Fire member recalled meeting Woolfolk in high school and how the two “quickly became friends and teammates.”
“Good memories. Great talent. Funny. Competitive. Quick-witted. And always stylish.
Booski… I’ll see you on the other side, my friend,” Bailey concluded in her post.
The official Earth, Wind & Fire Instagram account also reposted Bailey’s post.
Woolfolk, who grew up in Denver and was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2017, was a member of Earth, Wind & Fire from 1973 to 1985 and again from 1987 to 1993. Outside of the R&B group, Woolfolk has collaborated with artists such as Deniece Williams, Phil Collins, Twennynine and Level 42 and played on Bailey’s 1984 and 1986 albums ‘The Wonders of His Love’ and ‘Triumph’.
The sounds of Woolfolk’s soprano and tenor saxophones became iconic elements of many of Earth, Wind & Fire’s biggest hits of the 1970s, including “September”, “Let’s Groove”, “Boogie Wonderland”, and “Shining Star”. “. His live performances with the band usually found him sporting the flamboyant sparkly jumpsuits that were a notable aspect of the band’s style.
In 2000, Earth, Wind & Fire – featuring Woolfolk – was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The mythical group lost its founder and leader in 2016 with the death of Maurice White.
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