CHICAGO (CBS) – Visitation is in progress Thursday morning for Dr. Albertina Walker, the revered “Queen of Gospel,” who died last week at the age of 81.
The visitation is being held until 6 p.m. at the West Point Missionary Baptist Church, at 3566 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
Walker died on Friday of last week of respiratory failure, at RML Specialty Hospital on the city’s West Side. She had been battling emphysema, and had been hospitalized since late August.
Walker was the youngest of nine children, and she loved gospel from the moment she could speak.
She began her singing career at the West Point Missionary Baptist Church in Bronzeville, where a record producer discovered her.
But she didn’t want to record by herself, so she invited some friends. With that, the great gospel group The Caravans was born. That led to a successful solo career.
Walker was also a protégé of gospel star Mahalia Jackson.
A musical celebration of Walker’s life will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, at the Apostolic Church of God, at 6320 S. Dorchester Ave. in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
Walker’s funeral service is scheduled for Friday. Artists including Aretha Franklin and Yolanda Adams are scheduled to attend and perform.