O’Landa Draper Cause of Death: How the Gospel Legend Passed Away at 34

Who was O’Landa Draper?

O’Landa Draper was a gospel singer, songwriter, choir director, and musician who founded the group O’Landa Draper & the Associates in 1986. He was one of the top gospel artists of the 1990s, earning five Grammy nominations and winning one in 1999 for his album Reflections. He was known for his energetic and expressive style of choir directing, which influenced many other gospel choirs. He also collaborated with other gospel and secular artists, such as Shirley Caesar, Billy Joel, Kirk Franklin, and Yolanda Adams. He was born on September 29, 1963, in Memphis, Tennessee, where he grew up listening to gospel music and joined his high school and college choirs.

How did O’Landa Draper die?

O’Landa Draper died on July 21, 1998, at a Nashville hospital due to kidney failure. He was 34 years old. He had been suffering from kidney-related health issues for a while, which had affected his performance and appearance. He had come to Nashville to perform at the annual Bobby Jones Gospel Explosion, but he was hospitalized after feeling ill. He passed away surrounded by his family and friends. His funeral was held at the Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ in Memphis, where thousands of people attended to pay their respects.

What are some of the tributes to O’Landa Draper?

O’Landa Draper was mourned and celebrated by many fans and fellow gospel artists who admired his talent and legacy. Some of the notable tributes include:

  • The Grammy Awards honored him with a posthumous award for Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album in 1999 for his album Reflections, which was recorded live in Memphis in 1997.
  • The Stellar Awards, the premier gospel music awards show, dedicated its 14th annual ceremony in 1999 to him and presented a special tribute performance featuring his choir and other gospel stars, such as Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, and CeCe Winans.
  • The Memphis Music Hall of Fame inducted him in 2018 as one of the city’s most influential and successful musicians. His induction was announced by his longtime friend and collaborator, Kirk Franklin, who praised him as a “gospel genius” and a “trailblazer”.

What is the legacy of O’Landa Draper?

O’Landa Draper was a gospel legend who left a lasting impact on the genre and the industry. He was a pioneer of contemporary gospel music, blending traditional and modern elements, such as choir choreography, urban beats, and rap. He was a mentor and inspiration to many young and aspiring gospel artists, who learned from his musical skills, his spiritual messages, and his humble attitude. He was a faithful servant of God, who used his gift of music to spread the gospel and uplift people.