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Gospel music icon Bishop Walter Hawkins passed away in Oakland, CA today after suffering with pancreatic cancer, according to online reports. He was 61

Hawkins was a contemporary gospel forerunner who rose to prominence as a member of the Hawkins Singers along with his brother Edwin in the late sixties.

His “Love Alive” album series, consisting of songs recorded from the 70′s to the 90′s, yielded numerous classics including “Marvelous,” “Going Up Yonder”, “Changed,” “Be Grateful,” and “Thank You.”

The articulate tenor’s tender voice possessed authority and a tonal quality second to none as demonstrated on the duet he shared as a featured artist with Donald Lawrence on the 2006 Tri-Cities Singers recording, “Seasons.”

The Christian Music Hall of Fame inductee was also the former husband of gospel legend Tramaine Hawkins, with whom he fathered two children. In the latter part of his life he became the beloved pastor of Love Center Ministries in Oakland. In May of this year Hawkins was saluted at his sixty-first birthday celebration.

We remember his contributions to music here with two videos of songs from the “Love Alive” album from the 1970’s.

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