Robert Jablon of the Associated Press is reporting that gospel legend Andraé Crouch has died. Crouch was an outstanding gospel performer, songwriter and choir director whose work graced songs by Michael Jackson and Madonna and movies such as “The Color Purlple” and “The Lion King.”
Crouch was hospitalized earlier this week for what his twin sister Sandra described as “serious health complications.” Lablon reports that Crouch suffered a heart attack last weekend.
Crouch’s most memorable gospel songs include “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)” and “Soon and Very Soon,” which was sung at Michael Jackson’s public memorial service. He and his sister Sandra serve as pastors of the New Christ Memorial Church in San Fernando, California.
Crouch, 72, had been previously hospitalized in December, which led to the postponement of his “Let The Church Say Amen” celebration tour.
“Debuting in 1960, Crouch helped pioneer the burgeoning ‘Jesus Music’ movement from the late 1960s and ’70s that started the spread of contemporary Christian music.
‘We’ve lost a true pioneer and he will be missed,’ said Jason Crabb, another Grammy-winning gospel singer.
His influence also crossed over into in pop music. Elvis Presley performed his song ‘I’ve Got Confidence’ for a 1972 gospel album, and Paul Simon recorded ‘Jesus Is the Answer’ for a 1974 live album.
Crouch worked with many other stars, from Diana Ross to Ringo Starr, and his gospel albums sometimes featured performers from other musical genres. His 18th solo album, ‘The Journey,’ released in 2011, featured Chaka Khan, Shelia E., Take 6, Kim Burrell and Marvin Winans.
Crouch was one of only a handful of gospel performers to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
The gospel pioneer was 72.