Grammy nominated soul singer Sharon Jones has succumbed to cancer after a prolonged fight, according to a statement from her official website. She was 60.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer,” the announcement read. “She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”
Back in August, Jones spoke with EBONY.com about her illness and recovery, which was chronicled in the critically acclaimed documentary Miss Sharon Jones!
“They had to remove my gall bladder, the head of my pancreas, and more than half of my small intestine,” Jones said. “From June to September, I could barely walk. I couldn’t eat solid food. I was really bad.”
Despite the physical challenges after her initial 2013 diagnosis, which included multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, Jones fought her way back to the stage. After going into remission, she returned to the Dap-Kings, performing in a sold out show at New York’s Beacon Theater before heading out on a tour with Hall and Oates.
While promoting the documentary, Jones announced the disease had returned, but she refused to give up.
“When I’m good, I wanna perform. I don’t wanna just stay home and do nothing when I can take this medicine and get out and I can [sing],” she told EBONY.com. “When I get on that stage, the pain seems to go away.”
Music was always Jones’ passion and she sung backup for several musicians throughout the 1970s, but couldn’t quite turn it into a living. After working as a corrections officer at New York’s Riker’s Island jail, her big break came in 1996 when she provided background vocals for legendary singer Lee Fields. The opportunity would lead to Jones recording a pair of tracks, “Switchblade” and “The Landlord,” and eventually hooking up with the men who would become her band, the Dap-Kings.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings would go on to record seven studio albums and tour the world.
After fans learned of Jones’ death, many took to social media to mourn the beloved singer.
The fabulous Sharon Jones has passed tonight she & her band The DapKings made great music together & she sang her butt off. Condolences RIP
— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) November 19, 2016
Our hearts are broken.
Rest In Peace, Sharon Jones. pic.twitter.com/7qcaueUjSf
— Americana Music Association (@AmericanaFest) November 19, 2016
— Wobbie (@jackofspeed) November 19, 2016
— Anthony Mason (@AnthonyMasonCBS) November 19, 2016
— Matt Wilstein (@mattwilstein) November 19, 2016
— Zaheer Ali (@zaheerali) November 19, 2016
Rest In Peace to the beautiful black queen Sharon Jones pic.twitter.com/SUftVhDSYt
— Leon Bridges (@leonbridges) November 19, 2016
Though she may be gone, Sharon Jones’ music will live on forever.