COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (CelebrityAccess) — Sharon Jones, the energetic lead singer of the retro-soul group The Dap Kings, died on Friday after a long battle with cancer. She was 60.
Her death was announced on her website, with a representative stating:
"We are deeply saddened to announce Sharon Jones passed away today after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time."
Jones first revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer in 2013, but it went into remission after aggressive treatment, only to return in 2015. The story of her battle with the disease was chronicled in the Barbara Kopple documentary "Miss Sharon Jones" which was released earlier this year.
A native of Georgia, Jones transplanted with her mother to New York's Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood at an early age. Jones honed her talent as a church gospel singer and talent show enthusiast who worked as a corrections officer and sang at wedding bands until she had her first major break as an artist at 40, when she was signed to the newly-launched Desco and then Daptone Records by Gabriel Roth and Philip Lehman.
Roth, Lehman and Jones assembled the Dap Kings and debuted the band with the 2002 album "Dap-Dippin' With Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings," helping to launch the Neo Soul revival that would later include artists such as Amy Winehouse, who started off backing Jones, and Adele.
The group recorded seven albums, including 2014's "Give the People What They Want" which earned Jones her first Grammy nomination for best R&B album. Their last album, "It's a Holiday Soul Party," was released last year.
A tribute to Jones is in the work and her loved ones have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following organizations:
The Lustgarten Foundation
James Brown Family Foundation
Little Kids Rock