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Gospel music legend Jessy Dixon, who garnered worldwide success in both secular and Christian markets, has died September 26, 2011 at home in Chicago.

The 73-year-old succumbed to an undisclosed illness, his sister Miriam Dixon has said. Dixon wrote songs for Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and Amy Grant, but was best known for popularizing gospel outside the United States, , and for his collaborations with Paul Simon.

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“He was a man of God, he loved to praise the Lord,” He had many opportunities to sing other music, but he loved gospel.” says his sister Marian

“Dixon was born in San Antonio, Texas, and began singing there. In Chicago, he connected with gospel great James Cleveland and over the years performed with a number of gospel groups,” the Tribune reported.

An obituary on Dixon’s website says that he authored more than 200 songs, including the gospel classics “I Love To Praise His Name” and “He’s The Best Thing … To Happen to Me,” but was perhaps most known for his 1993 hit “I Am Redeemed” a song that “impacted audiences worldwide, and held a top-ten position on the gospel charts for over five years.” Dixon had been “a cherished fixture on the Bill Gaither Gospel Hour television series and concert tours” for the past 16 years,” the obituary said. He also received numerous Dove and Grammy award nominations, earned five gold records, and was a 2008 Christian Music Hall of Fame inductee.

“Jessy Dixon was a great influence on me personally,” Grammy-winning gospel recording artist Donald Lawrence told the Sun Times. “He was a great representative of the city and defined the sound of Chicago gospel and introduced that sound to audiences all over the world. Jessy was the ultimate sophisticated gospel singer-songwriter.” He is survived by a brother and sister. His website says a “Homegoing Celebration” will be held Monday October 10, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the Family Christian Center in Munster, Indiana.

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Here is a great performance with Yolanda Adams: