Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist, Andrew Woolfolk, has passed away at the age of 71 on Sunday, April 24 after battling a long-term, undisclosed illness.
Philip Bailey, the lead singer for the band, announced the news of Woolfolk’s death on Tuesday, April 26, taking to Instagram to share a touching tribute to his late bandmate and long-time friend.
“I met him in High School, and we quickly became friends and band mates. Andrew Paul Woolfolk was his name,” Bailey wrote.
“We lost him today, after being ill for over 6 years. He has transitioned on to forever, from this land of the dying to the land of the living.
Bailey went on to describe Woolfolk’s incredible spirit and personality as he promised to reunite with the late musician “on the other side”.
“Great memories. Great talent. Funny. Competitive. Quick witted. And always styling.
“Booksi… I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.”
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Fans, family and celebrities alike were quick to respond to the post as they remembered Woolfolk for his iconic legacy.
“I’m so sorry to hear this. What a major part of the EWF legacy,” wrote musician Christian McBride.
“Wow. What a loss. God bless and comfort his family. Blessings and comfort to the EWF family and all those touched by his life,” commented a fan.
“That guy right here was my uncle. I have been blessed to know him for years and he played a heck of a sax. My heart is broken to hear the news and I will miss him dearly.”
Earth, Wind & Fire first formed in Chicago in 1969, with Woolfolk a part of the band from its conception in 1973 to 1985 and again from 1987 to 1993, alongside band members including Maurice White, Lorry Dunn and Philip Bailey.
Some of the band’s most iconic hits include Shining Star, September and Keep Your Head to the Sky, with the band selling over 90 million records over the course of their career.
Woolfolk was also well known for his saxophone performances in a number of famous albums including Valerie Carter’s Just A Stone’s Throw Away (1977), Level 42’s Standing in the Light (1987) and Bailey’s Grammy-nominated LP The Wonders of His Life (1984) and Grammy-winning Triumph (1986) album.
Woolfolk was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 as an esteemed member of Earth, Wind & Fire and in 2017 earned a place in the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.