Edward Hawkins, the longtime gospel music star, died Monday. He was 61.
Hawkins, the veteran gospel performer and ordained bishop died at his home in Ripon, California after battling pancreatic cancer. The singer was awarded a Grammy for his work in the 80’s after rising to fame in the 70’s, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Hawkins worked alongside his older brother Edwin Hawkins who was also a singer and choir director before venturing out on his own. Edward originally put time into his work as a vocalist to raise money for a church in Washington, D.C.
Over the years the singer worked on and off with his family while working on his solo career. While working with this family Hawkins sang on the hit track “Oh Happy Day” that was released in the late 1960’s. The singer also released a series of recordings in the 90's including the single "Be Grateful."
"I don't think God should have just anything. He requires your best. What I want is for things to be right. Whether it is music, sound or lights, it should be right,” Edward Hawkins told the Washington Post in 1999.
Hawkins gained stature as a gospel singer in the 70’s with the Love Center Choir. The group was awarded multiple Dove Awards for their contributions to the world of gospel music. Dove Awards are one of the most honorable of accolades in the realm of religious music awards, reported Billboard.com.
The singer founded his own church in Oakland after his work with the Love Center Choir. The church was appropriately titled the Love Center Church. Hawkins worked with legendary singer Van Morrison, known for songs such as Brown Eyed Girl and Wild Night.