Bobby Michaels, the Christian singer and songwriter best known for his international ministry "Musicianaries," passed away in Thailand, Tuesday. He was 55.
Michaels was ministering in Cambodia last week when he suffered a heart attack. Doctors say his heart had only been working at 30 percent after recovering from the flu a few weeks before.
According to online reports from his family, Michaels was resting in Thailand in preparation for heart surgery. Doctors, however, were forced to operate early because his organs had started shutting down.
Michaels' heart "flat-lined" before surgery Tuesday morning. He never recovered after 45 minutes of attempted resuscitation.
"We are deeply saddened by our loss, but rejoice that Bobby did get totally healed with a new heart, kidneys, and any other part that might have needed fixing," Michaels' family said in a statement on his Web site.
"The Lord knew the plans He had for Bobby, and today was his graduation day as he went to the one he loved the most and served so faithfully," the family said. "We know he was carried away in the arms of Jesus."
Michaels' began his career as a back up singer, and came to know God after struggling with a cocaine addiction.
He released his first album I Have a Reason in 1985, and has since released seven albums and received one Grammy award.
Michaels viewed music as a universal language, perfect to spread the gospel. His ministry Musicianaries International was started to do just that.
Michaels has performed before thousands in countries like Cambodia, Singapore and North Korea.
He is survived by his wife, Lee.
Fellow music artist Laurie Marks Vincent released the following statement in response to Michaels' death:
I don't think I've cried so hard for the loss of someone that I never personally met. I still have his last email telling me that he was praying for me and all of our own ministry and mission ventures this coming year. Missions was very dear to Bobby's heart and I have been so honored to get to know him and his vision. He was such an encouragement to me. My heartfelt love to all of his family. Bobby was a true and faithful man of integrity, a living example in his service to spread the Word of God's love to everyone. I will miss him dearly.
Sources: CBN News, Musicianaries International, ASSIST News