Sharon Jones Dies from Cancer at Age 60; Questlove, Chaka Khan & More React
Sharon Jones, the powerful and soulful lead vocalist of the Dap-Kings, has passed away at the age of 60. According to the band’s website, the veteran singer died after a second heroic battle against pancreatic cancer.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer,” read a statement from the group. “She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.”
Born in Augusta, Ga., in 1956, Jones' life was full of perseverance. As a struggling singer, she was often told that she was too short and too old to make it in the music business. After years of working as a corrections officer at Rikers Island, Jones was befriended by Brooklyn N.Y.-based bassist/producer Gabriel Roth, who was so impressed with her singing abilities that he signed her to his newly-formed label, Daptone Records. He would eventually developed a band around her called the Dap-Kings and in 2002, Jones, at the age of 40, released her debut effort, Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
Although the album wasn’t a mainstream success, the group was able to build a loyal grassroots fan base. Jones would also earned her first Grammy nomination in 2014 for best R&B Album for Give the People What They Want. Overall, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings released five studio albums, including 2015’s It’s a Holiday Soul Party.
In June 2013, Jones was diagnosed her with stage two pancreatic cancer. But even her cancer couldn’t stop her. She continued to perform and tour as long her body would allow it. In 2016, Jones became the subject of the documentary Miss Sharon Jones! directed by Barbara Kopple. The film chronicled Jones' success in the music biz and her ongoing battle against cancer.
Upon hearing the sad news of Sharon Jones' death, artists such as Questlove, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Estelle, Leon Bridges and more went on social media to pay tribute to her.
We want to send our heartfelt condolences to Sharon Jones' family and friends. Jones' fearlessness and charismatic personality onstage and offstage will be sorely missed. May she rest eternally in peace.
Sharon Jones' management said that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to The Lustgarten Foundation, James Brown Family Foundation and Little Kids Rock.