‘Oh Happy Day’ Gospel Legend Edwin Hawkins, Dies At 74

Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Edwin Hawkins, who created the megahit, “Oh Happy Day” died on Monday at his home in Pleasanton, Calif. Hawkins death came after his long battle with pancreatic cancer, his publicist Bill Carpenter confirmed. Hawkins was 74.

There are a handful of gospel songs that last the test of time where everybody–and their mama–has heard it and enjoys it no matter when it comes on. “Oh Happy Day” is one of those songs. It’s been re-done literally thousands of times from high profile singers, to both small and big choirs, and independent films to big budget Hollywood movies.

A native of Oakland, Hawkins had been performing with his family and in church groups since he was a boy. In the late 1960s, when Hawkins was in his twenties, he helped form the Northern California State Youth Choir. The group recorded its first album, Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord.