Gospel singer Albertina Walker dies at 81
Walker died of respiratory failure Friday morning in at RML Specialty Hospital in Chicago, said Pam Morris, a close friend and Chicago radio host.
Born in Chicago in 1929, Walker began singing in a church choir at the age of 4. Walker was urged to pursue a gospel singing career by the woman who became her mentor, gospel great Mahalia Jackson.
Walker officially launched her career at age 22 when, urged by Jackson, she formed her group the Caravans. She was a fixture in body and spirit at Chicago's Gospel Festival since the event's inception, both solo and with the Caravans.
-- Times wire reports
Photo: Albertina Walker in 2001. Credit: Associated Press