In more of 2016’s sad news it has been announced that Grammy-nominated soul singer Sharon Jones, beloved for her work with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, passed away on Friday (Nov. 18), after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 60.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer,” her rep said in a statement. “She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”
Jones earned her first Grammy nomination in 2013 when Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings’ album Give the People What They Want was up for Best R&B Album. That same year, she was diagnosed with cancer. “I just started crying,” Jones told Rolling Stone in July. “All kinds of thoughts went through my head because I figured that I was going to die.”
Instead, Jones fought cancer for years, vowing not to let it control her life. “I have cancer; cancer don’t have me,” she explained. “I’m gonna keep on going. I’m gonna take this medicine, and it’ll be alright.”
Sharon Jones was born in Augusta, GA in 1956 and later moved to Brooklyn, NY as a young teenager. She began singing in her local church and school, and spent much of her young adult years in a number of wedding bands. In 1996 she met Dap-Kings co-founder Gabriel Roth while singing background vocals for projects under Desco Records. In 2000, Jones and Roth (aka Boscoe Mann) along with guitarist Binky Griptite, organist Earl Maxton (aka Victor Axelrod of Antibalas and Ticklah), percussionist Fernando “Boogaloo” Velez, trumpeter Anda “Goodfoot” Szilagyi, baritone saxophonist Jack Zapata (aka Martín Perna, also of Antibalas), tenor saxophonist, Leon Michels, and drummer Homer “Funkyfoot” Steinweiss from the Mighty Imperials came together to form the new group Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. They toured together stateside and internationally for 15 years, including televised performances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.”
After her long-fought battle with cancer Sharon Jones passed away at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, NY near her home in Sharon Springs, NY.