MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Gospel recording artist Alen VonShea Norman, whose stage name is Shea Norman, passed away Thursday at the age of 45.
Friends, family, and band mates confirmed his untimely death and attributed his passing to a long battle with diabetes.
Norman, a native Memphian, began his gospel career in 2004 with the release of "My Heart Depends on You." It would be his breakthrough release on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart. His song, "'Tis So Sweet", was placed on WOW Gospel 2005.
"The real shea butter, if you will, because his voice was like butter. Shea Norman was a gospel artist who influenced so many people in Memphis and the Mid-South but actually around the world," 95.7 Hallelujah FM radio personality Sherry Mackey said. "For the videos, for the music that he presented to us, that will be timeless and that we'll forever have with us."
"Anyone who wanted to hear jazz or anything that would just calm your spirit, he had that gift," 95.7 Hallelujah FM's Dre Monie said.
Many friends and local gospel radio personalities shared their condolences with the family on social media.
Former 95.7 Hallelujah FM's Dewayne Benton wrote "To God Be the Glory. My prayers to his family. Love you all."
The Grove Recording Studios wrote "Our hearts are so heavy tonight as we learn of the passing of Shea Norman. Rest in peace brother."
Mackey said many musicians struggle with healthcare due to their schedules and lack of insurance.
"Make sure you go and get your checkups and take care of your health and be obedient to the doctors," Mackey warned.
Funeral arrangements have not been released.
The family is requesting privacy at this time of bereavement.