Gospel legend Andraé Crouch dies at 72

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Gospel legend Andráe Crouch died of a heart attack on Thursday afternoon at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. The man many called “the Father of Gospel Music” was admitted to the hospital on Saturday of suspected health complications after years of battling diabetes and surviving multiple encounters with cancers.

Throughout his life, Crouch struggled with dyslexia, often using shapes and pictures as a means of helping to comprehend words and write songs. However, he was able to compose his first song at the age of 14 before constructing Church of God in Christ Singers, a group that featured Billy Preston on the keyboards.

For half a century, Crouch was a trailblazer in the world of music, combining contemporary pop and R&B with gospel melodies. At a time during the 60s where countercultural sentiments prompted the “Jesus Movement,” Crouch used his music to unify listeners from every demographic.

Some of his most recognizable songs include Soon and Very Soon, I Surrender All, Through It All, Let The Church Say Amen, The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power, and  My Tribute (To God Be the Glory).

Watch Andráe Crouch perform ‘Through It All’ in 1975

For artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Elton John, Diana Ross and Ringo Starr, Andráe Crouch provided a gospel touch to their recording sessions. Crouch’s own albums featured collaborations with Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder and El Debarge. He earned seven Grammys along with an Academy Award nomination for his arranging work in The Color Purple.

In December, Crouch was forced to cancel his “Let the Church Say Amen” tour after being hospitalized with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Sandra Crouch, Andráe’s sister, re-admitted her brother into the hospital after noticing multiple health complications.

Crouch was 72.