Arts & Entertainment

​Gospel star Edwin Hawkins, best known for 'Oh Happy Day,' dead at 74

Edwin Hawkins attends the Apollo Theater Spring Gala and 80th Anniversary Celebration  at the Apollo Theater on Monday, June, 10, 2014 in New York City.
Edwin Hawkins attends the Apollo Theater Spring Gala and 80th Anniversary Celebration at the Apollo Theater on Monday, June, 10, 2014 in New York City.
Brad Barket/Invision/AP

Grammy winner Edwin Hawkins, the gospel star best known for the crossover hit "Oh Happy Day," has died.

Hawkins died early Monday at his home in Pleasanton, California. He was 74 and had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, publicist Bill Carpenter told The Associated Press.

The Edwin Hawkins Singers reached the top 10 on the pop charts with "Oh Happy Day," a call and response hymn that began as a local favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area and became an international hit in 1969.

The following year the Hawkins singers backed Melanie on her top 10 hit "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" and won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance for "Oh Happy Day."