Gospel singer and songwriter MAIIA “SUNNY” HAWKINS died, yesterday, Tuesday 5th September. Few details are forthcoming save that she’d been battling breast cancer for some time.

Born in Oakland, California Sunny began singing in the church as a child mentored by her godparents, gospel stars Walter and Tramaine Hawkins. In her late teens she embraced secular music, working on Broadway and singing BVs  for people like Chaka Khan and Luther Vandross.

Sunny eventually married writer and producer Jamie Hawkins (Walter and Tramaine’s son) who later became pastor of North California’s Transforming Love Christian Centre. Till she was diagnosed with cancer, Ms Hawkins continued to work in both the gospel and secular fields. She wrote Aretha Franklin’s 2003 hit ‘The Only Thing Missin’ and ‘Good Lovin’ which featured on Patti LaBelle’s 2004 album, ‘Timeless Journey. In 2005 Sunny released her debut album, ‘More of You’ a collaboration with husband Jamie.