Our chief editor has confirmed with her siblings that Vanity, a former protege of Prince’s and a member of Vanity 6, has died at age of 57 in a Fremont, California, hospital on Monday.
Born in Canada, Denise Katrina Matthews initially focused on modeling but soon moved on to music and fame soon followed as the lead singer for Vanity 6 from 1981 until 1983, during which time the group scored the hit “Nasty Girl.” Her music career also encompassed two solo albums, along with the hits “Pretty Mess” and “Under the Influence.”
Last year the singer put up a GoFundMe page, stating that she was diagnosed with an inflammation of the small intestines called sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis.
In addition to music, Matthews also enjoyed a successful acting career, with roles in films “The Last Dragon,” “52 Pick-Up” and “Action Jackson.”
Matthews struggled with drug abuse, which took its toll on her health. At one point she suffered renal failure and, according to a Jet feature on the singer, required peritoneal dialysis five times a day.
Following a 1994 crack cocaine overdose that left her with near-renal failure, Matthews renounced her stage name and became a born-again Christian, at one point saying, “When I came to the Lord Jesus Christ, I threw out about 1,000 tapes of mine — every interview, every tape, every video. Everything.” Following a 1997 kidney transplant, she devoted herself to evangelism, speaking at churches.
Blende staff sends our condolences to the family, friends, and fans and will provide further details as they become available.