Walter Hawkins, a Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, composer and pastor from Oakland, died Sunday at his home in the San Joaquin Valley community of Ripon, said his older brother, gospel singer Edwin Hawkins. He was 61 and had pancreatic cancer.
Born in Oakland on May 18, 1949, Hawkins received a master's of divinity degree at UC Berkeley.
FOR THE RECORD:
Walter Hawkins: A news obituary of gospel singer Walter Hawkins in Tuesday's LATExtra section said the albums "Love Alive III" and "Love Alive IV" were released in 1990 and 1993, respectively. "Love Alive III" came out in 1984 and "Love Alive IV" in 1990. —
While at the university, he recorded his first album, "Do Your Best," in 1972.
The next year, Hawkins became a pastor and founded the Love Center Church in Oakland, where he also formed a choir.
In the 1980s, Hawkins recorded a number of albums and earned nine Grammy Award nominations, said Bill Carpenter, a friend and family representative.
In 1980, his "The Lord's Prayer" won a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational. He also performed on the televised Grammy Awards ceremony that year.
In 1990, Hawkins released "Love Alive III" which spent 34 weeks at the top of the Billboard gospel album sales chart sold more than a million copies, according to Carpenter.
In 1993 "Love Alive IV" hit the top spot on the album sales chart. Between work on the two albums, Hawkins was ordained a bishop in October 1992.
Hawkins had been planning a new "Love Alive" CD concert recording for this fall.
Survivors include two children and two grandchildren. He was previously married to gospel singer Tramaine Hawkins.