The Grammy Award-winning contemporary gospel singer succumbed to a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer at his home in Ripon, Calif. on Sunday.
During his 30-plus-year career in gospel, which consisted of at least 14 albums since 1975, Hawkins created an extensive catalog of music both as a solo artist and with his family ensemble.
Bishop Walter Hawkins and Donnie McClurkin “Thank You”
Songs like ‘Thank You,’ ‘Marvelous,’ ‘Going Up Yonder,’ ‘Holy One,’ ‘Be Grateful,’ ‘It’s Right and Good’ and countless others have become anthems, earning Hawkins an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame as well as a Trailblazer Award by his music publishing company, BMI. A singer, songwriter, producer and arranger, Hawkins found himself collaborating with artists from rocker Van Morrison, R&B star Jeffrey Osborne, actress Diahann Carroll and the late disco king Sylvester to gospel greats like Richard Smallwood, Donald Lawrence, Mississippi Mass Choir and the Williams Brothers.
In 2006, Hawkins along with brother Edwin, ex-wife Tramaine Hawkins and sister Lynette Hawkins Stephens famously performed during Oprah Winfrey’s Legend’s Ball Gospel Brunch. Hawkins was also the pastor of the Love Center Church, a ministry he founded in Oakland, Calif. in 1973. He was married to gospel great Tramaine Hawkins but the two divorced.
Hawkins is survived by his two children, Trystan Hawkins and R&B singer Walter “Jamie” Hawkins, Jr. ; daughter-in-law, gospel singer Myiia “Sunny” Hawkins; two grandchildren Jamie-Daniel and Jahve; a host of nieces and nephews; and his siblings Carol, Feddie, Edwin, Daniel, and Lynette.
Funeral arrangements are pending.