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Grammy Award-Winning Singer Benjamin Moore of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Dies at 80

Grammy Award-Winning Singer Benjamin Moore of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Dies at 80

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SANTA FE (CelebrityAccess) – Singer Benjamin Moore, Jr., a musician who spent 14 years as a member of the gospel group, The Blind Boys of Alabama, died last Thursday (May 12). He was 80. His death was confirmed by reps for the band, adding he died of natural causes in a hospital located in Santa Fe, NM.

“Ben’s passing deeply saddens the Blind Boys family. He was an integral part of our group, not just as a talented singer but as a kind and dependable friend. Although he will be sorely missed, I’m grateful for the years of memories.” – Ricky McKinnie.

Born August 7, 1941, in Atlanta, Moore’s father led the gospel group Echoes of Zion, and he followed in his father’s footsteps, picking up the guitar by age 14. He began his career in Jimmy Tig and the Rounders in the mid-70s.

In addition to his time with the gospel group, Moore also stepped out as a solo artist under his name and the pseudonym Bobby Purify. His 1983 song, “He Believes in Me,” was nominated for Best Soul Gospel Performance – Traditional at the Grammys, losing to Al Green‘s “Precious Lord.”

Moore hit upon hard times in the 90s when his health began to deteriorate with glaucoma, leading to complete loss of his eyesight. Yahoo.com reports that at this time, he also lost his house. However, friends and family rallied around the gospel singer and encouraged him to try somehow to play music again. Eventually, those connections landed him squarely in front of Ray Charles.

Moore told The Tampa Bay Times:

“He (Ray Charles) told me,” ‘Don’t sit your ass around; you’ve got a voice, use it!.’ “And you know what? I think his words pulled me out of that deep thing that was in, that fear where I wouldn’t even leave the house.” – Benjamin Moore, Jr.

Moore took Charles’ advice as his time with the Blind Boys of Alabama was littered with successes. He sang on five albums, the first one being 2008’s Down in New Orleans, which won the Grammy for Best Traditional Gospel Album. He toured with the group and got to perform at a special White House event celebrating music from the Civil Rights movement. Moore was still singing with the Blind Boys of Alabama and was on tour with them as recently as last month.

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