JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Acclaimed gospel recording artist and Jacksonville-area resident Troy Sneed has died from the coronavirus, a spokesperson for his record label confirmed.The singer was 52 years old.
The Times-Union reached out to Sneed’s wife, Emily, for comment, but has not heard back as of publication time. Though the family has not put out an official statement, condolences poured in for the well-known musician and record label owner.
“The Gospel community has lost a superb talent in Troy Sneed,” fellow gospel artist Kurt Carr wrote on Facebook. “Keep his wife, family, friends and everyone who was blessed by his music in prayer!”
As noted in a 2013 Times-Union profile about Sneed, his 2012 album produced two Billboard gospel chart singles — “All is Well” and “Lay it Down.” His production company — Emtro Gospel — which he co-owned with his wife, distributed releases through Warner Bros. Records.
Other noted singles by Sneed included “My Heart Says Yes” and “Kept By His Grace.”
When he wasn’t recording, Sneed stayed busy performing at churches, concert halls and festivals around the country.
As of the Florida Department of Health’s Monday morning report, Sneed’s death was not noted under Duval County or Clay County reported deaths. The Sneeds previously said they lived in Fleming Island, which would fall under Clay County.
“Troy was like a brother to me,” Mike Chandler, CEO of Rejoice! Musical Soul Food radio network said. “He was a businessman. He was a husband; he was a father. He was an industry leader so it’s not just my loss it’s a loss to the whole industry.”
Chandler went on to call Sneed one of the “most talented men in our industry.”
Born on Dec. 14, 1967 in Perry — about 50 miles southeast of Tallahassee — Sneed’s life started with football on the brain.
But by his senior year of high school, with multiple knee injuries and surgeries, Sneed was tasked to find a new passion.
Sneed eventually became a minister of music while getting a degree in elementary education with a minor in music theory.
Artist accolades include an appearance in “The Preacher’s Wife,” starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington as part of the Georgia Mass Choir.
He was soon signed to Savoy Records, where he recorded two solo albums — “Call Jesus” in 1999 and “Bless That Wonderful Name” in 2001 before becoming disenchanted and cutting ties.
By 2003, Sneed founded Emtro Records, determined to stay in Jacksonville instead of following suit with other gospel recording artists and moving to New York or Atlanta.
Sneed said he felt that Jacksonville was where he needed to be. He said if he could be successful in Jacksonville, he could be “King of the Hill.”
Five solo albums later, Sneed did just that, peaking as high as No. 2 on the Billboard gospel chart with “My Heart Says Yes.”
Still, friends say it wasn’t the music that made the artist memorable.
“More importantly,” Chandler closed, “Troy was a good person and he did a lot of good work. The world is going to miss him.”
Sneed is survived by his wife, Emily and the couple’s four children, Troy Jr., Evany, Trey and Tyler.