Veteran gospel singer George Beverly Shea has died at the age of 104.

Shea passed away in Asheville, North Carolina, on Tuesday (16Apr13) after a brief illness, according to Brent Rinehart, spokesperson for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Born in Ontario, Canada, Shea was famous for his rich baritone voice and sang to millions of Christians at evangelist Billy Graham's crusades.

He recorded more than 70 albums and received 10 Grammy Award nominations, winning the Best Gospel or Other Religious Recording (Musical) for Southland Favorites in 1965.

In 1978, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame by the Gospel Music Association and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gospel Music Association Canada (GMA Canada) in 2004.

Back in 2011, Shea received the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award alongside Dame Julie Andrews, Roy Haynes, the Juilliard String Quartet, the Kingston Trio, Dolly Parton and the Ramones.

Paying tribute to Shea, Graham says in a statement, "Bev was one of the most humble, gracious men I have ever known and one of my closest friends. I loved him as a brother."

Shea is survived by his second wife, Karlene, and two children from his first marriage, Ronald and Elaine. His first wife, Erma, died in 1976.