(Credit: REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)
Erica Atkins-Campbell and Trecina "Tina" Atkins-Campbell, otherwise known as the contemporary gospel powerhouse Mary Mary, thanked fans Wednesday for their prayers as they mourn the loss of their father to cancer.
"Thanks (for) all the kind words & prayers sent today. Our Dad was a great man, but he's with Jesus now he taught us how to pray & trust God," the women wrote on their joint Twitter account. "Our hearts are heavy but we can rejoice knowing our father knew we loved him. RIP Elder Eddie A. Atkins Jr. Rest in the arms of Jesus Daddy."
Sheilah Belle, a radio producer and anchor, revealed that Atkins had passed away after a battle with cancer on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Los Angeles.
"Lets keep their family in needed prayer," Belle tweeted.
"My condolences to Mary Mary and their families and friends for the loss of their father. I can't even imagine losing a parent. Prayers," tweeted Amber Patrice Riley, former "Glee" actress and fan of the singing duo.
Comedian, actor and radio personality Rickey Smiley also offered condolences, writing, "So sorry to hear about Mary Mary's loss … Please keep them lifted in prayer."
The Atkins-Campbell sisters live in Los Angeles and currently star in their own "Mary Mary" reality show on Wetv, with their parents having appeared in the series as well.
The Wetv show page says of Atkins:
"Eddie Atkins, Erica and Tina's loving father is considered the strongest male member of the family and patriarch. As their father and a community leader & youth minister, Mr. Eddie laid the foundation for Erica & Tina's broad reaching musical platform that allows them to deliver their brand of gospel music not just to the church but to the masses regardless of their walk of life & spiritual understanding. Mr. Eddie still serves as a stable & loving force in the lives of his children and grandchildren. He has been married and divorced from their mother, (Thomasina "Honey" Atkins), three times and some think a fourth try at marriage isn't out of the question."
The gospel singing duo, whose group is reportedly named after the Bible's Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus, has won several awards since their 2000 debut album Thankful. Mary Mary is currently up for Best Group for the 2013 BET Awards, with Kanye West and Jay-Z also nominated in the same category for their joint The Throne album. Mary Mary has also been nominated in the Best Gospel Artist category alongside Deitrick Haddon, Lecrae, Tamela Mann and Marvin Sapp. The 2013 BET Awards airs on the BET network Sunday, June 30.