Denise Katrina Matthews, the singer formerly known as Vanity, has died. She was 57.
Matthews died from kidney failure, the result of years of crack cocaine abuse, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. She died in a hospital in Fremont, Calif.
The Canadian born singer was also a songwriter, dancer, actress and model, leading the girl group Vanity 6 from 1981 to 1983. In that time, they recorded the smooth funk single, “Nasty Girl,” which was produced by Prince and topped the Billboard dance charts.
She also recorded two solo albums for Motown —Wild Animal and Skin on Skin — and starred in movies The Last Dragon and Action Jackson.
Matthews became a born-again Christian after a near-fatal drug overdose in 1994 and renounced her former identity. After she recieved a kidney transplant in 1997, she went on to devote her life to evangelism. In 2010, she self-released an autobiography called Blame It on Vanity.
Matthews’ health problems continued and took a turn for the worse last year. After being diagnosed with the kidney condition sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis, she set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for her medical treatment but fell more than $43,000 short of her goal.
SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain pic.twitter.com/UbCWtl8brc
— SheilaEdrummer (@SheilaEdrummer) February 16, 2016
Today my friend & Sister Denise Katrina Matthews p/k/a #Vanity passed away. She absolutely loved GOD unto salvation. Rest in his Glory
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) February 16, 2016
Rest in Peace Vanity. pic.twitter.com/J6CalDPx60
— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) February 16, 2016
R.I.P. to Denise Matthews aka Vanity of Vanity 6.
This one was unexpected!! 2016 is taking no mercy!!
— EricBobo (@ericbobo) February 16, 2016
Awful news. Awful. RIP Vanity. pic.twitter.com/6VknD4zqps
— Jamal Anderson (@jamthedirtybird) February 16, 2016
— Syleena Johnson (@Syleena_Johnson) February 16, 2016