Andraé Crouch dies after a heart attack at 72

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Eight-time Grammy-winning contemporary gospel singer Andrae Crouch poses with his newly unveiled star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, June 4, 2004. | (FILE) REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) -- Famed Gospel music legend Andraé Crouch,72, died Thursday afternoon from complications following a January 3 heart attack, according to his publicist Brian Mayes.

The seven-time Grammy Award winner passed away at the Los Angeles-area Northridge Hospital Medical Center surrounded by family.

"Today my twin brother, womb-mate and best friend went home to be with the Lord," read a statement by the musician's twin sister, Sandra Crouch, on the Andraé Crouch Facebook Fan page.

"Please keep me, my family and our church family in your prayers. I tried to keep him here but God loved him best."

Crouch was born in San Francisco and had written his first Gospel song by age 14. Throughout Crouch's more than 50 years in music he was known as a performer, song writer, producer, arranger and choir director.

His work included songs for musicians such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. He also worked on Hollywood projects including "The Color Purple" and "Once Upon a Forest," and was arranger and choir director for "The Lion King."

Most recently, Crouch was a pastor along with his sister at the New Christ Memorial Church in the Los Angeles area. There he worked with his choir the Disciples.

In addition to recent health struggles Crouch had in the past dealt with diabetes and cancer. According to a 2011 Associated Press article, Crouch also struggled with dyslexia throughout his life.

"So when I finish a song, I thank God for bringing me through," Crouch had said of his accomplishments despite the disability. "You have to press on and know your calling. That's what I've been doing for all my life. I just went forward."

Crouch was one of three gospel artists to have a have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Details of a celebration service and tribute to the singer have not yet been announced.