Updated January 15, 2018 8:53 PM EST
The legendary gospel artist Edwin Hawkins died at age 74. Hawkins is best known for his innovative gospel arrangements, especially "Oh Happy Day". Hawkins' publicist, Bill Carpenter, told The Associated Press that the singer died early Monday at his home in Pleasanton, California, after battling pancreatic cancer.
Hawkins won four Grammy awards over the course of his career and is credited as a pioneer in the contemporary gospel music genre. He mixed hymns of the Gospel with a secular sound and "Oh Happy Day" was the first gospel song to reach the 40 best graphics. It reached the top 10 and also became an international hit in 1969.
He and his brothers were part of the popular music group, the Hawkins family. He and his brother, Walter Hawkins, who died in 2010, were self-taught keyboardists in Oakland, California, who recorded their first album to raise money for their church before "Oh Happy Day" became a hit, according to New York. Times.
Hawkins' last recorded album, "Testify," was released in 2008, but he continued to play, write and produce music for other gospel artists.
The last time was presented in December at the Holiday Soul concert with the San Francisco Symphony with the Interreligious Choir of Oakland, CeCe Winans and Paula West.
Last Thursday, Hawkins' family wrote on social media that he was suffering from "several health problems." They continued: "We ask that you send your support, love, good wishes and prayers of comfort and healing to Edwin and his loved ones at this time."
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