'Oh Happy Day' gospel singer Edwin Hawkins dies, aged 74

16 January 2018, 09:52

Edwin Hawkins

Influential gospel singer Edwin Hawkins has passed away, at the age of 74.

Hawkins was best known for leading The Edwin Hawkins Singers, and for their classic hit 'Oh Happy Day'.

He died at this California home after battling pancreatic cancer, his publicist confirmed.

Hawkins was seen as a pioneer and inspiration to urban gospel music. They also backed Melanie on her top 10 hit 'Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)'.

'Oh Happy Day' became a hugely popular hit in 1969, and sold seven million copies around the world.

It also won a Grammy and was covered by the likes of Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. It has also been used in various movies, most notably in Sister Act 2.

Watch a video of the group's famous song below: