Grammy-winning singer Albertina Walker, known as the Queen of Gospel, has lost her battle with emphysema. She was 81. Walker passed away of respiratory failure in at RML Specialty Hospital in Chicago, Illinios on Friday morning, October 8.
The music icon began singing in the choir of West Point Baptist church at the age of four. She was urged to sing professionally by gospel great Mahalia Jackson, who later became her mentor. Walker eventually launched her career at 22, when she formed her own gospel group, the Caravans, and became a fixture at Chicago's Gospel Festival as a solo performer and with the group.
U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush called Walker's a voice for the civil rights movement in a tribute to the star. He tells the Associated Press her music was "a healing balm to those who struggled for justice."