Pop singer and actress Vanity has died at the age of 57, according to TMZ. The Prince protege born Denise Katrina Matthews had been out of the entertainment industry since the mid-’90s and had battled kidney cancer for several years before passing away in a Fremont, Calif. hospital on February 15.
In the early ’80s, Prince couldn’t find enough outlets to release all of his ideas. He formed a number of groups to release music that he had made. One of the most successful was Matthews’ group Vanity 6. The group’s song “Nasty Girl” was a hit on both U.S. Dance and R&B charts, hitting No. 1 on the former.
After Vanity 6 disbanded in 1983 (shortly therafter becoming the Apollonia 6), Matthews starred in several films including the cult classic kung-fu movie The Last Dragon. Her biggest role came in 1988’s Action Jackson alongside Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson and Sharon Stone.
Matthews disavowed her former career in the ’90s after suffering a drug overdose and becoming an evangelical Christian. However, her fellow members of the Prince camp were quick to express their condolences on Twitter. Morris Day and Sheila E. both took to social media to share their sadness over their friend’s passing.
Rest In Peace, Denise.