(WXYZ) — Michigan-born gospel music legend Bishop Rance Allen has passed away, the Church of God In Christ, Inc. announced in a release Saturday.
He was 71 years old.
Bishop Allen was a world-renowned gospel artist known for his wide vocal range and powerful singing voice even and affectionately known as the "Father of Contemporary Gospel Music." He served as Prelate of the Michigan Northwest Harvest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.
He is best known as the lead vocalist in the namesake Rance Allen Group, which has its origins dating back to the 1970s. The group was formed by Allen and his brothers.
He was one of 12 children born in 1948 in Monroe, Michigan. According to his biography, at the age of five Allen began his preaching ministry and was preaching throughout Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania by age nine.
At age 12, he was licensed to preach and has since continued ministering throughout the United States and abroad.
In 1978 he was ordained an Elder by the late Bishop John Seth Bailey and subsequently served nearly seven years as Associate Pastor of Holiness Temple Church of God In Christ (COGIC) in Monroe.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulting in local and state restrictions on public gatherings to achieve social distancing, the family will hold a private memorial service for this servant. When the restrictions are lifted, a date will be set fora Jurisdictional Memorial Service that will appropriately recognize the godly life and notable achievements of Bishop Rance Allen.
During this time of uncertainty, we request the continued prayers as well as acts of emotional and spiritual support for the family. It is with great honor that the National Adjutancy will assist the family during this most difficult time.
Allen's cause of death was not specified in the release.
Read the full statement below: