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Carman, New Jersey Christian music star and member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, deceased at 65

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Carman, a Christian artist from New Jersey known for his theatrical performances, has died.

The singer died in a Las Vegas hospital on Tuesday following surgery to repair a hiatus hernia, according to an announcement on his website. He was 65 years old.

Licciardello, born Carmelo Licciardello in Trenton, was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2018. The venue notes that the singer was often described as both an evangelist, a Vegas showman, his narrative performances a fusion of drama, rock, comedy, funk, satire, actor, vocal and preaching.

In a performance of his hit song The champion, released in 1985, Carman performed the voices of Satan and his demons in menacing grunts reminiscent of the whining gollum of The Lord of the Rings. He also provided Jesus’ response:

Go make my day.

The crowd roars.

He started at age 15, playing drums in his mother’s band Nancy Licciardellos. He would continue to lead audiences of over 80,000 people in the cult.

The singer often said that after playing in New Jersey casinos, he made an offer from a talent agent linked to the DeCavalcante criminal family, reports Christianity Today. Instead, he left for Las Vegas. It was during a performance by gospel artist Andra Crouch that Carman found Jesus.

Billboard was named Licciardello Contemporary Christian Artist of the Year in 1992 and 1995.

Carman has been nominated for four Grammys in his career, starting in 1986 with the song Our Blessed Savior Has Come, with CeCe Winans, and continuing with three nominations for Best Pop Gospel Album in 1991 (Shakin the House … Live ), 1992 (Addicted to Jesus) and 1998 (Mission 3:16).

Licciardello has previously attributed its recovery from the terminal multiple myeloma cancer in support of fans, who funded an album and tour through its Kickstarter campaign, reports Christianity Today.

The singer, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, reported a recurrence in 2020.

Carman was planning to launch a 60-city tour this month.

When Carman resumed the tour a few years ago, he was concerned that no one would care about his return, Carmans director Matt Felts said in a statement. He was wrong. Every night, fans filled the venue and his ministry was as powerful as ever. This world has lost a light in darkness but today Carman has seen with his own eyes the fruit of his labors.

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Amy Kuperinsky can be contacted at [email protected] and follow up to @AmyKup on Twitter.



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