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2014 Trailblazers Of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon

Source: Erika Goldring / Getty

Gospel Pioneer &  Grammy winner Edwin Hawkins passed away.

Hawkins died early Monday (Jan. 15) at his home. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, according to his publicist.

The Edwin Hawkins Singers crossed Gospel into the pop world  with their song, “Oh Happy Day.”It went on to become a top 10 hit and won the Grammy for best soul gospel performance.

Here’s the statement released by the Hawkins family:

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Edwin Hawkins –– a celebrated artist, innovator, and music icon. Though he will be greatly missed the world over, the message of love, life, and encouragement that he incorporated into his music gives us all the same hope that we’ll join him in heaven and sing `Oh Happy Day.’”

“Edwin Hawkins was not only a musical hero to me but he came to be a mentor and a close friend, “ said Grammy® winning singer/producer, Donald Lawrence. “His group also had a huge influence on Richard Smallwood who has known Edwin since Richard was 19 years old.” Smallwood adds, “Edwin changed the face of gospel music and helped create a fresh sounding genre that spread around the entire world. He was a humble and kind spirit that not only encouraged others who were privileged to meet him, but also inspired millions to be daring in their creativity.”

Singer Fred Hammond paid his respects on Twitter today:

Hawkins was 74 years old.

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Edwin Hawkins Passes Away was originally published on praisedc.com

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