Gospel artist Andrae Crouch dead at 72

Neil Portnow and Andraé Crouch during The Recording Academy Presents 2005 GRAMMY Salute to Gospel Music at West Angeles Church in Los Angeles on February 10, 2005. Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy® /Wireimage.com © 2005. Photographed by: R. Diamond

Acclaimed gospel artist Andrae Crouch has died at age 72. He had been hospitalized in December with pneumonia and congestive heart failure.

“Seven-time GRAMMY® winner Andraé Crouch was a remarkable musician and legendary figure in gospel music,” said Neil Portnow President/CEO The Recording Academy in a statement.

Often referred to as ‘The Father of Modern Gospel Music,’ he aided in the crossover success between gospel and mainstream music during his impressive career, which spanned more than five decades. From singing with his first group The Church of God in Christ Singers during the early 1960s, to founding the Disciples a few years later, to leading the choirs featured on hits like Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror,” his passion for music was as infectious as it was influential. Andraé was fiercely devoted to evolving the sound of contemporary, urban gospel music and was always delighted to share it with audiences worldwide. In addition to being an accomplished vocalist, Andraé was also a uniquely gifted songwriter, arranger and record producer.

“We have lost a dynamic member of our creative community, and our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all who have been lifted up by his remarkable work,” said Portnow.