After a battle with pancreatic cancer, famed gospel singer and leading faith figure Bishop Walter L. Hawkins died at 61, according to BET.com.
Hawkins’ career spanned more than 30 years and he released more than 14 albums since 1975 as a solo artist and with his family ensemble.
Some of the singer’s most memorable songs include “Thank You,” “Holy One” and “Going Up Yonder,” many which became popular Sunday selections in Black churches around the country. The songs also helped Hawkins earn an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Trailblazer Award from publishing company BMI.
In addition to his work as an artist, Hawkins was the pastor and founder of the Love Center Church in his hometown Oakland, Calif.
Gospel and R&B stars took to various social media outlets to express their sadness over Hawkins’ passing, including singer Dave Hollister, who said his “heart was deeply saddened” on Twitter.
Similarly, Mary Mary singer Erica Campbell reflected on Hawkins’ life. “My heart is so heavy. Bishop Walter Hawkins gave us more than just songs. I hope he’s dancing with the Angels right now. May he rest in peace!”
According to the Love Center Ministries’ Web site, Hawkins’ funeral service will take place July 21 at 11 a.m. at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, Calif. For more information visit lovecenter.org