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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Renowned gospel singer Bishop Rance Allen has died at the age of 71.

Allen’s wife Ellen Allen and his manager Toby Jackson released a joint statement on his death Saturday morning, saying, “While recovering from a medical procedure at Heartland ProMedica [in Sylvania, OH], Bishop Rance Allen passed away around 3 AM this morning.”

Allen was the founder of gospel band the Rance Allen Group. He is known for his work with other gospel singers such as Kirk Franklin, the Clark Sisters and Shirley Caesar. Allen served as Prelate of the Michigan Northwest Harvest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.

Bishop Robert G. Rudolph, Jr., with the Church of God in Christ released a letter on Allen’s death, saying he was “affectionately known as the ‘Father of Contemporary Gospel Music’.”

“Bishop Allen’s unique vocal ministry was an indispensable sound within the Church of God in Christ and Christendom,” Rudolph said. “His gift transcended the boundaries of musical genre as he remained a sought-after personality called to perform on global venues.”

Rudolph says the Allen family will hold a private memorial service for him in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and local and state restrictions on public gatherings. Rudolph says a date will be set for a Jurisdictional Memorial Service “when the restrictions are lifted.”