Memorial Services For Andrae Crouch Begins; Pastor TD Jakes, President Obama Mourns

Memorial services for the late legendary gospel singer Andrae Crouch are set to begin next week in San Fernando, California, where he served as co-senior pastor. The singer and songwriter died at age 72 on Jan. 8, after suffering a heart attack. New Christ Memorial Church is honoring Crouch with public memorial services referred to as "a celebration of Andrae Crouch's life" in the coming week, including a viewing on Tuesday, Jan. 20, a tribute that evening, another viewing on Wednesday, Jan. 21, as well as a four-hour celebration of his life, according to the church's website.

"In lieu of flowers, please send tax-deductible donations to: Andrae Crouch Memorial Fund," the church posted on its website.

The seven-time Grammy Award winner is famous for bridging "Jesus Music" with mainstream music. Crouch's songs such as "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power, "My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)" and "I'll Be Thinking of You" have played in churches around the world and have been recorded by artists that include Elvis Presley and Paul Simon. Also a choir director, Crouch worked on Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" as well as Madonna's "Like A Prayer."

In the years leading up to his death last Thursday, Crouch had suffered several health conditions that included multiple cancers, congestive heart failure, and diabetes. The "I'll Be Thinking Of You" singer was admitted into the hospital after suffering a heart attack on Jan. 3. His death days later left many in mourning, including Sandra Crouch, the singer's twin sister and co-pastor at New Christ Memorial Church.

"Today my twin brother, womb-mate and best friend went home to be with the Lord," she said on Thursday. "I tried to keep him here but God loved him best."

President Barack Obama also released a statement of mourning following the news of Crouch's death.

"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of music legend Pastor Andrae Crouch," the Commander in Chief said before citing the singer as "a leading pioneer of contemporary gospel music."

"We are grateful that his music and spirit will continue to live on for years to come and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans during this time," Obama added.

Also among those mourning is Pastor T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House who said: "A musical genius has left us. He will always be remembered by the gifts he left amongst us."

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