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Longtime Earth, Wind and Fire Saxophonist, Andrew Woolfolk, Dead at 71

The man who provided the signature sound for some of Earth, Wind & Fire's biggest hits is no more.

Andrew Woolfolk, a longtime saxophonist for the group, whose work on the soprano and tenor sax were core elements of some of EWF's biggest hits — including "September," Boogie Wonderland" and "Shining Star," passed away earlier in the week. He was 71.

Bandmate Philip Bailey, the falsetto-voiced singer who often shared lead vocalist duties with group founder Maurice White, announced the news on Instagram Monday.

“I met him in high school, and we quickly became friends and band mates,” wrote Bailey. “We lost him today, after being ill of over six years. He has transitioned on to the forever, from this land of the dying to the land of the living.”

A native of Denver, Colorado, Woolfolk joined the band in 1972. Officially a member from 1973 to 1985, and again from 1987 to 1993, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the group in 2000. He is also a member of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

In addition to his work with EWF Woolfolk had a prolific body of work.

He played saxophone on Bailey's 1984 Grammy-nominated album "The Wonders of His Love", as well as Bailey's 1986 Grammy-winning album "Triumph." Woolfolk also played on Phil Collin's 1996 album "Dance Into the Light," and collaborated with other artists like Deniece Williams and the English jazz-funk band Level 42.

Bailey closed his post: "Great memories. Great Talent. Funny. Competitive. Quick witted. And always styling. Booski… I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.”

It was another huge loss for fans of the group and its innovative and ever-evolving sound. EWF founder White, the baritone that played off Bailey's falsetto on some of the band's biggest hits, died on February 4, 2016, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

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