In his biography, Anthony said, “eventually the Lord healed my hands because He had a job for me to do.” When he was just five years old, Anthony became the youngest student ever to be accepted by the Chattanooga Cadek Conservatory. Again from his family’s web site; “Playing the piano was more than just a job for Anthony Burger. It was a way of life, as well as a blessing, privilege and a direct gift from God.”
In 1992, Anthony left the Kingsmen to strike out on his own. Always giving God the glory for his healing, talent and success, Anthony graciously permitted fellow keyboardists to perform his arrangements. In other words, Anthony didn’t seem to have the ego problem we often witness when an artist reaches a status of such great success; his feet were planted solidly on the ground. And this from the Gaither site; “Nashville, TN - Gospel Music's own Anthony Burger has been named the newest Steinway Artist by world-renowned piano maker, Steinway and Sons. Anthony, a regular performer on the popular Gaither Homecoming Videos and tour, joins such famous pianists as Billy Joel, Van Cliburn, Harry Connick, Jr., and the late Irving Berlin and Vladimir Horowitz in receiving this prestigious honor. The announcement was made on January 18, 2006, at Steinway's annual Dealer Dinner held in Los Angeles at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Anthony says, "This is an incredible honor for me. I've been playing a Steinway piano on the Gaither tour for years and wouldn't want to play anything else." This special honor was announced one month before his death.
Yet, with all the awards, (far too many to list here), rubbing shoulders with the world’s elite, and giving over 250 performances a year, Anthony was real people. By all accounts, he lived for his Heavenly Father, family, and sharing the gift God had bestowed upon him. He also sponsored the Anthony Burger Golf Classic. He once stated about himself, “I am a simple man, with a majestic instrument and the power of God behind me.”
On February 22, 2006, during a Caribbean cruise on the Atlantic Ocean, aboard the MS Zuiderdam, a ship chartered for a Gaither Gospel Cruise, Anthony Burger was accompanying Bill & Gloria Gaither and Guy Penrod on the song, “Hear My Song, Lord,” when fans in the audience noticed he had quit playing, his hands clenched into fists over the keyboard. Several of his fellow artists carried him backstage, where the ship’s emergency response team unsuccessfully performed CPR for 45 minutes.
Cleveland’s Mayor Rowland said there had been no hint of any health problems, though he had said he was not feeling well and had chest pains. “He was on stage playing when he winked at his wife, LuAnn, and then fell dead.” According to the official medical examiner’s report, Anthony’s heart simply burst. This is a condition similar to what took actor John Ritter’s life in 2003. Anthony Burger was only 44 years old and is survived by wife, LuAnn, two sons, A. J. and Austin, one daughter, Lori, his parents, Richard and Jean, two brothers, Randy and Clinton, and many more family and friends who loved him and continue to miss him.
Psalms 116: 15 reads, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” I Corinthians 2:9 reads, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” So I’m thinking Anthony Burger is hearing notes he couldn’t have even conceived of here on Earth. And even though Steinway makes a wonderful piano, I can only imagine what God had waiting for Anthony to play in Heaven! Anthony Burger’s earthly death was a tremendous loss to those of us who loved him, and were in awe of his God-given talent, but if we’re Heaven bound, we shall see him again and just think of the music he’ll make there!From what I’ve read, Anthony’s lovely family is doing quite well. His wife, LuAnn, continues to accept honors and awards on his behalf, always including Anthony’s parents, Richard & Jean. His children are also carrying on in a manner that would make him proud. Lori graduated from Belmont University in 2007 and is an accomplished singer in her own right; also in 2007, A. J. graduated from high school and his plans at that time were to attend Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, on a music scholarship. Son, Austin, has stayed involved with answering fan mail sent to the family and I’ve requested a current update from him. Since this family stays so busy and involved, I may or may not hear back from him. But I do know the family appreciates hearing from Anthony’s fans and receive mail from all over the world that lifts their spirits and reaffirms the fact that they shared their lives with a very special man. If you want to peruse their site, make contact or are interested in any of Anthony’s music, go to http://www.anthonyburger.com/ Please know that if I review an artist, author or any other person on here, it’s because my life has been touched in some way by that person. Although I don’t intend to commercialize anyone, (the ads below are by Google, and are not personally endorsed by me), I do, Dear Reader, want to make people who are special to me, more accessible to you. As always, your comments and/or emails are welcome.