Then, I hear from a colleague that Roby suddenly and unexpectedly exited the planet. Immediately I went into disbelief. There was nothing on Google or anything.
Then, finally, I got the following from Bob Bennett and Terry Clark:
Roby Duke - Sudden DepartureWe’ve found additional information at http://www.robyduke.com/ and information on Roby’s funeral and memorial services at http://www.robydukefamily.com/home.
10:46 PM PST
Paso Robles, CA
I’m away from home until Sunday afternoon. This morning I got sad word
that my friend Roby Duke died suddenly (details are forthcoming, but it
appears it may have happened on Wednesday and discovered late Thursday
night). I've been excitedly telling folks for weeks the plans Roby and I
had to collaborate on a Christmas album for Fall 2008. I have always had
great admiration and love for him ... for his music and as a fellow
traveler. In times like these, I am most afraid of saying something
stupid, something shopworn, some pseudo-spiritual platitude tossed out
carelessly. It might be a spot of pride on my part, but also the notion
that I don't want to cheapen or minimize the difficulty of such a sudden
and, by human horizontal-view standards, a tragic loss as this. I will
only say again that I dearly loved this man. If you have heard him or
ever met him, chances are very good you feel the same. Shortly after I
found out, it was my difficult task (self-appointed, but necessary) to
call Terry Clark about this ... later in the day he and his wife Nancy
wrote a much more lucid and God-in-view response than I can manage here:
Dear Catalyst Family,
Our dear friend, Roby Duke, has preceded us into the presence of our
Savior, after a sudden heart attack yesterday, December 27, 2007.
We want to honor Roby and thank God for the life of sacrifice and
service that was itself a treasure given to those who knew him and
thousands of people who heard his music. He deeply impacted our lives
and we are eternally grateful.
Since 1993, Roby’s genius has been responsible for the production of U
Gada No, Love Heals, This Christmas, Only Believe and The PRIZE. During
those years we have become brothers.
We were so blessed to have been with him for his birthday earlier this
month, then again last Sunday as we played together at Calvary Chapel in
Thousand Oaks, CA. He kept glancing over at me as he sang his final
song, “I Shall See God,”" as if to assure me that he fully believed what
he was singing like never before. It was such a sweet and powerful
moment as the whole congregation echoed over and over, "I shall see Him,
touch His face."
Our prayers are with Brantley, Roby’s son; Anne Baldwin, his assistant
and the whole Duke family.
Thanks, Lord, for loaning Roby to us for a little while. It was way too
short, it seemed we had so much more to do. But we are absolutely sure
You know how to perfectly satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
You've welcomed him personally to do exactly what he has been singing
about for as long as we've known him.
So long, Roby. We'll see you soon.
Terry & Nancy Clark