The UK number two hit Oh Happy Day sold over seven million copies worldwide in 1969.
Hawkins arranged the song which became a global sick featuring Dorothy Combs Morrison’s lead vocals.
Known as a singer Hawkins was also an accomplished pianist, choir master, composer and arranger.
The Californian released dozens of albums between 1968 and 1998 earning several awards.
He was born August 19, 1943, in Oakland California.
The Californian released dozens of albums between 1968 and 2008 earning several awards.
His accolades included four Grammy awards.
On its release it Oh Happy Day became the first gospel song to crack the top 40 in the United States.
He co-founded the Northern California State Youth Choir of the Church of God in Christ with Betty Watson.
His family have requested fans pray on his behalf following his death after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Back in December he played his last shows to a crowd at the Holiday Soul concert in San Francisco.
His last album, Testify, was released in 2008 and he wrote and produced music for other artists.
More to follow…