R&B singer Sharon Lafaye Jones dead at 60

Sharon Jones, lead singer of Sharon Jones the Dap-Kings, has died. She was 60.

She passed away after “a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer,” reads a message on the band’s website. “She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”

The internationally renowned RB and funk songstress was known for her big, sultry voice and boisterous live shows.

Born in North Augusta, S.C., Jones moved to Brooklyn as a child. Before her music career took off, she worked as a prison guard in New York City.

Struggle with cancer

Jones was diagnosed with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer in 2013 but went into remission nine months later, and she returned to the music scene with a 2014 Grammy Award nomination for her album Give the People What They Want and an album of holiday classics called It’s A Holiday Soul Party!

Her struggle with cancer and her return to the stage were chronicled in the critically acclaimed 2015 documentary Miss Sharon Jones! directed by Barbara Kopple, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In the QA session after the film premiere, Jones revealed that her cancer had returned. By the time the film started playing in theatres the following year, she was receiving radiation treatment and had to sit out a planned summer European tour.

Sharon Jones

Jones was an internationally renowned singer who worked as a prison guard before breaking into the music industry.

‘I want to sing. I want to do it ’til I can’t do it’

“But my fans, they understand,” she told CBC Music in August 2016. “As soon as I get up on my feet, I got something to look forward to. I don’t want to lay down and just wait for my body to get to the point where I can’t do anything. While I got my strength, I want to live my life. I want to sing. I want to do it ’til I can’t do it.” 

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