On Wednesday, popular gospel music group Mary Mary announced via Twitter that their father, Eddie A. Atkins Jr., 66, died.
ESSENCE.com caught up with Erica Campbell to talk about what her father meant to her.
"It's really hard to deal with losing my dad," said Campbell. "He was truly the strength of our family. And even though him and my mom were not together anymore… they stood hand-and-hand and they stood side-by-side to support their children."
Campbell shared she learned a lot from her father, who passed away from cancer, especially his strength. "He had a lot of health issues my entire life," she followed up. "No matter what he went through, he was a fighter. That's what I learned. He was super hilarious and super sarcastic. He never let life take him too low. He had his low moments, but he never let life take him too low. That's what we learned. We learned to cope with the challenges and keep it moving—that's why we keep singing, why we keep ministering, why we keep talking to people."
In this time of need, Campbell says she has lots of things to remember her father by. "Even though my dad is gone, I have so much to hold on to," she said. "That gives me comfort. He didn't leave here without knowing his daughters loved him. He didn't leave here not knowing that we cared and that we cherished him."
The Atkins family is planning to hold a musical celebration for Mr. Atkins on Sunday and funeral services will be held on Tuesday in Lynwood, California.
Sending out our prayers to Mary Mary this afternoon.
- Red Carpet