Gospel music legend, Bishop Rance Allen, is dead at 71

The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) announced the singer's passing in a statement on Saturday

Gospel music legend Bishop Rance Allen is dead at 71, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) announced in a statement Saturday. His cause of death is not yet known.

“God who is omnipotent and omniscient has summoned His servant, Bishop Rance Lee Allen, to eternal rest,” the Pentecostal–Holiness Christian denomination leader, Bishop Rober G. Rudolph Jr. said in a letter.

“Bishop Allen was a world-renowned gospel artist and affectionately known as the ‘Father of Contemporary Gospel Music.’ Bishop Allen’s unique vocal ministry was an indispensable sound within the Church Of God In Christ and Christendom. His gift transcended the boundaries of musical genre as he remained a sought after personality called to perform on global venues.”

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Allen was the lead vocalist of the Detroit, Michigan gospel group with his namesake, The Rance Allen Group, which was formed along with his brothers Tom, Steve and Esau in 1970. The group was known for its signature blend of gospel, rock and soul music.

As a vocalist, Allen was known for his massive vocal range. He and his group performed alongside other gospel greats like Andraé Crouch, Marvin Winans, Bebe and Cece Winans, the Clark Sisters, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Shirley Caesar and Donnie McClurkin.

The group also won two Stellar Awards in 2012 for Quartet of the Year and Traditional Group/Duo of the Year.

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“Please pray for the the Family and Friends of our Esteemed Brother Bishop Dr Rance Allen. He has transitioned and we know His Beautiful Spirit will live on through His global Music Legacy!!” gospel singer Yolanda Adams wrote in an Instagram post. “His Presence will definitely be missed.”

Kirk Franklin also reacted to Allen’s death in an emotional video posted on Instagram with the caption: “2020 just keeps breaking my heart.” The Grammy-winning musician, clearly in shock by the news, revealed that he had just finished writing and producing Allen’s new single. Unfortunately, Allen died before they were able to record the song together.

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2020 just keeps breaking my heart…

A post shared by Kirk Franklin (@kirkfranklin) on

In their statement announcing his passing, COGIC said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen’s family will be holding a private memorial service. A ceremony for the public will be scheduled at a later date.

“During this time of uncertainty, we request the continued prayers as well acts of emotional and spiritual support for the family,” the church body said.

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