White died of kidney failure due to chronic high blood pressure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he has been since September for dialysis.
He was born Sept. 12, 1944 in Galveston, Texas, but lived most of his life in south Los Angeles.
He married a childhood sweetheart, identified only as Mary in his autobiography, and fathered four children with her before they separated in 1969 and later divorced, CBS News reported.
In 1974, his album "Can't Get Enough" climbed to the top of the pop charts on the strength of the signature hits "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" and "You're the First, the Last, My Everything."
That year he also married Glodean James, and the couple went on to have four children.
White is survived by eight children, grandchildren, and his companion Catherine Denton.