Anthony Burger, 44; Pianist Played With Gospel Music’s Gaithers

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Anthony Burger, 44, the gospel pianist who played for the popular Gaither Homecoming shows, collapsed and died during a performance Wednesday on a Gaither Homecoming cruise out of Miami. A heart attack is suspected, pending an autopsy.

Burger, who lived in Brentwood, Tenn., released numerous albums and videos of his piano music. He most recently was a guest artist and pianist for Gaither Homecoming concerts headlined by gospel superstar Bill Gaither.

Two Gaither albums and videos featuring Burger are currently in the top 10 on music video and contemporary Christian album sales charts.


Burger’s album “A Tribute to Bill and Gloria Gaither” was nominated this year for the Gospel Music Assn.’s Dove Award in the instrumental category. Earlier in his career, Burger played for the Celestials and the Southern gospel quartet the Kingsmen.

When he was 8 months old, Burger suffered third-degree burns on his hands, legs and face when the wheels of his walker got caught on the grate of an old floor furnace and he fell. Doctors predicted he’d never move his hands again.

“But eventually the Lord healed my hands because He had a job for me to do,” Burger said in a 1998 interview. He began playing piano when he was 3 and debuted on the radio at 5.