(CelebrityAccess) – Andrew Woolfolk, saxophonist for Earth, Wind, and Fire (EW&F), passed away Sunday (April 24) after a long illness. He was 71.
EW&F vocalist Phillip Bailey confirmed his friend’s death on Instagram. No exact cause was given, but Bailey wrote, “We lost him today, after being ill over six years. He has transitioned on to the forever, from this Land of the Dying to the Land of the Living.” Bailey went on to talk about how they met in high school and quickly became friends. “I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.”
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Woolfolk was born in Texas but moved to Colorado, where he was raised. He met Bailey, and he wanted Woolfolk to join EW&F. In Bailey’s 2014 memoir, Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth, Wind, and Fire, he says that Woolfolk had no intention of joining the band and was studying music in New York. After Woolfolk conceded and joined, he became known as one of the “original nine” members.
Woolfolk was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2017 and was a member of EW&F from 1973 until 1985 and again from 1987 to 1993. Outside of the band, he collaborated with Phil Collins, Twennynine, Deniece Williams, and others. He played saxophone on Collins’ 1996 album, Dance Into the Light. EW&F was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame in 2000.