Earth, Wind and Fire saxophist Andrew Woolfolk has died aged 71.
Joining the band in 1972, Woolfolk stayed with Earth, Wind & Fire until 1985, before rejoining them when they returned from a break in 1987 until 1993. Woolfolk featured in the group with school friend Philip Bailey, who had asked him to join the band following the departure of Ronnie Laws.
During Woolfolk's time in the band, Earth, Wind & Fire released several of their classic hits, including 'September', 'Boogie Wonderland' and 'Shining Star'.
Woolfolk was also a session musician, and touring performer for the likes of Phil Collins, Denieice Williams and Level 42.
Confirming his death, Philip Bailey paid tribute to his friend Andrew Woolfolk.
“Met him in High School, and we quickly became friends and band mates. Andrew Paul Woolfolk was his name. We lost him today, after being ill of over 6 years", he wrote. “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".
Other tributes include:
2000 Inductee Andrew Woolfolk’s expressive saxophone playing was a key contribution to the boldly experimental sound of @EarthWindFire. The band forever changed the face of rock & roll, bringing together thrilling music with uplifting messages of Black pride and spiritual unity. pic.twitter.com/oh95X7NyEt— Rock Hall (@rockhall) April 26, 2022
Rest well, Andrew Woolfolk. Saxophonist for Earth, Wind & Fire’s classic period. One of my absolute favorites because he made every note count. You may not know his face or his name, but he was an integral part of THE sound. Wow...— Brandon Williams (@bwilliamsmusic) April 25, 2022
Thank you for the music, brother. pic.twitter.com/ppXvLVRiWi
Awww, man.— Rochelle Riley (@rochelleriley) April 26, 2022
“He has Transitioned on to the forever, from this Land of the dying to the Land of the Living." - Phillip Baileyhttps://t.co/gjJUjRQPqP