Vanity—the former ’80s Prince protégé born Denise Matthews—passed away at 57 from kidney failure and abdominal illness, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The singer of erotic hits like “Nasty Girl” and “Pretty Mess” long suffered from sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, and had devoted her life to Christian evangelism after recovering from a crack cocaine overdose in the mid-1990s. The Canadian-born singer died at a hospital in Fremont, California, where she’d been living for decades.
Since being introduced by Prince as the lead singer of the sexy R&B trio Vanity 6, she launched a solo career on Motown Records (including 1984’s Wild Animal and 1986’s Skin on Skin), as well as a brief acting career (1985’s The Last Dragon, 1988’s Action Jackson).
Matthews became a born-again Christian after a near-fatal drug overdose in 1994. As a result, she renounced her former identity, “Vanity.” In 2010, she released a self-published autobiography, Blame It on Vanity.
According to reports, Matthews’ health problems took a turn for the worse last year. After being diagnosed with sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis, a rare kidney condition, she set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for medical treatments, but feel more than $43,000 short of her $50,000 goal.
Read more at JETMag.com.