Keith Wonderboy Johnson, the gospel singer-songwriter who gave us the all-time hit Hide Behind the Mountain, passed away unexpectedly on September 30, 2022. He was 50 years old. His death shocked and saddened his fans, friends, and family, who remembered him as a talented and passionate artist. But how did Keith Wonderboy Johnson die? What was the cause of his death? Here is what we know so far.
A Car Accident in Atlanta
According to US Day News, Keith Wonderboy Johnson’s cause of death was related to a car accident. He reportedly died from the injuries he sustained in the collision, which occurred in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived. However, there has been no official confirmation on the location of the car accident or what caused it.
His label, Black Smoke Music Worldwide, released the following statement: “One of the current kings of gospel quartet music, Keith ‘Wonderboy’ Johnson, has died suddenly at the age of 50. Johnson was found dead in his Atlanta, GA home this morning. An autopsy is scheduled. Johnson was known for big gospel radio hits such as ‘Let Go and Let God Have His Way,’ ‘Be Right,’ and ‘Hide Behind the Mountain.’”
The statement also said that an autopsy was scheduled to determine the exact cause and manner of his death. It is unclear whether the autopsy happened or whether the results have been released.
A Stellar Career in Gospel Music
Keith Lamar Johnson was born on May 17, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York. When he was 5 years old, he was given the moniker “Wonderboy” because of his wondrous vocal acumen. He sang with his father Philip Johnson and his uncles with The Original Spiritual Voices. He started his solo music career in 1998 with the release of Through the Storm, published by World Wide Gospel Records.
He released 14 albums over the course of 13 years, 11 of which charted on the Billboard magazine Gospel Albums chart. His other albums charted on the Independent Albums and Heatseekers Albums charts. He collaborated with famous labels such as World Wide Records, World Wide Gospel, Central South Records, Verity Records, and Blacksmoke Records. His backing vocalist and band were called The Spiritual Voices.
He was known for his energetic and uplifting style of gospel quartet music, which blended traditional and contemporary elements. He won several awards and accolades, including four Stellar Awards, two GMWA Excellence Awards, and a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006 for his album New Season.
A Legacy of Faith and Love
Keith Wonderboy Johnson was not only a successful musician, but also a devoted father, husband, and man of God. He was married to his wife, Rhonda, for 25 years, and they had three children: Keith Jr., Kiara, and Kaleb. He was also a preacher and a mentor to many young artists in the gospel industry.
He was loved and respected by his peers, who paid tribute to him on social media and in interviews. Kerry Douglas, the founder of Black Smoke Music Worldwide, said he was like a brother to him. He said: “I was there when his first child was born. We fussed and fought with each other since we met, but that relationship built this company. A lot of the big artists today stand on Keith’s shoulders because of those sacrifices we both made in those early days. Keith began his career with Black Smoke and ended with Black Smoke.”
Glinda Perkins, the program director for WXVI, a gospel radio station in Montgomery, Alabama, praised his bubbly personality. She said: “He was very personable and very serious about music. He was his own best pitchman and even though he had people who worked for him, he was always the best promoter for his music.”
Keith Wonderboy Johnson’s cause of death may have been a tragic car accident, but his legacy of faith and love will live on in his music and his family. He will be greatly missed by his fans and the gospel community. Rest in peace, Wonderboy.