After a heroic battle with pancreatic cancer, that included touring and performing right up until the last days of her live, iconic soul and funk singer Sharon Jones has died. She was 60.
Per a statement from her publicist:
We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings. She died at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York, the hospital where she received chemotherapy treatment as seen in the recent film about her struggle, Miss Sharon Jones!.
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time.
Additional memorial details will follow soon.
Jones was the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, a Brooklyn-based soul and funk band. Born in North Augusta, South Carolina in 1956, Jones was the youngest of six children. Her parents, Ella Mae Price Jones and Charlie Jones, who are both deceased, moved the family to New York when she was a child. She grew up in Bed-Stuy, and attended high school at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn before attending Brooklyn College.
Her success as a musician came relatively late in life — she released her first album at the age of 40. Her record Give The People What They Want was nominated for a Grammy in 2014. She began singing at church and in school as a child, and when she met Philip Lehman and Gabriel Roth aka Bosco Mann at a Lee Fields studio session for Desco Records in 1996. From then on, she regularly performed with their collective Desco Super Soul Revue and house band Soul Providers, which eventually regrouped to form Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings in 2000. The band and Jones herself had incredible success, including opening gigs for Prince, touring with Lou Reed, collaborating with Amy Winehouse, Michael Buble and Lou Reed.
In 2013 Jones was diagnosed with a Stage 1 Bile Duct cancerous tumor, part of the cancer that eventually led to her death. She had surgery that summer, and though it was successful, doctors recommended additional chemotherapy treatments. In 2013 Cabin Creek Films also began working on the documentary about Sharon’s life became Miss Sharon Jones!, it was directed and produced by Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple. Following the completion of her initial round of chemo, in 2014 the band releases Give The People What They Want, which had been delayed, and begins touring. They would continue touring up until 2016, despite Jones’ intensive treatment.
Following another another minor surgery and another course of chemotherapy in 2015, this past year Jones began radiation treatment due to the cancer’s persistence and chemotherapy again. In the meantime, Miss Sharon Jones! premiered at TIFF in 2015 to acclaim, and opened across the country this year. “I’m Still Here,” an original song from the film’s soundtrack won best song from a documentary at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, and Jones was named one of the Most Compelling Living Subjects of a Documentary at the same awards.
Jones was a legend and a force who devoted herself to music up until she was physically incapable of doing so. She will be greatly missed by the music community, fans, friends, and family. She is survived by her siblings Dora Jones (67), Isiah Jones (64), Willian Stringer (63), Henry Jones (62), as well as seven nieces and three nephews.