*Energetic gospel artist Jessy Dixon, the man who opened for Paul Simon, passed away on Monday at his Chicago home after battling an unrevealed illness.

The singer was 73 years old.

Over his 50-year career, Dixon contributed to the success of many other artists in jazz and R&B, including Randy Crawford, Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and Amy Grant.

His talent and knack for music began to blossom at 5 years old when he began to play classical piano, but was inspired to use his talents in the church. In his youth, he was introduced to music James Cleveland after performing at a theatre in south Texas city.

Gospel became his passion and his life. He mentioned before that, “Going to church was like going to school.” While in the school of church, he observed the music of legends like Mahalia Jackson and blues pioneer Thomas A. Dorsey.

“Reading his (Dorsey’s) music and studying it, he was the one who wrote for Tennessee Ernie Ford, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone,” Dixon said. “All these people were singing his music and were making it commercial.”

Dixon eventually began to tour the world with his Gospel music, captivating audiences all over.

During his career, he produced five gold records and received several Grammy nominations.