Jenny Pagliaro, lead singer and co-founder of L.A. Americana duo Roses and Cigarettes, has died at age 35 due to complications from stage IV breast cancer. A spokesperson for the singer at Baby Robot Media confirmed that Pagliaro died on March 26.
“With heavy hearts and great sorrow we announce the passing of our beloved Jenny on March 26, 2019. Jenny passed away peacefully at her home in Santa Monica, Calif., comforted by her devoted family and friends,” read a statement from Pagliaro’s family. Pagliaro formed the band in 2013 with Angela Petrilli, with the duo releasing their self-titled debut in May 2015.
Before a planned fall tour in support of that album, Pagliaro was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer and immediately began treatments, later hitting the road to promote the release, according to a statement. The pair continued to produce music and play shows as Pagliaro received treatment, releasing their second album, Echoes and Silence, on Feb. 22 of this year, with Billboard premiering the video for “Fast As I Can.”
The upbeat, twangy song’s message about living life to the fullest shines through, even as it chronicles Pagliaro’s frequent hospital visits for cancer treatment. “I got a date with the reaper/ The devil wants my heart in his hands/ I’m gonna give him a few more reasons/ Start living just as fast as I can,” they croon on the chorus.
“This song was written about my battle with stage IV breast cancer,” Pagliaro told Billboard at the time. “It’s about not letting the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced stop you from living your dreams. The Grateful Dead song ‘Friend of the Devil’ was kind of my inspiration lyric-wise for this song.”
In a statement, bandmate Petrilli wrote, “When Jenny and I met at that first cover-band audition, I knew she was special. I felt it deep in my soul. I remember it like it was yesterday, her sonic energy, her laugh — and that voice. Man, that voice. I never heard anything like it. She was the Mick to my Keith. How thankful and humbled I am that our souls found one another to create the music we did together. Performing her songs brought her the purest form of joy I have ever witnessed another human project, and it brought me joy to watch her grow into the amazing human she was meant to be, on stage and off. I am beyond grateful to have shared this journey with her and I will miss her terribly. Those long car rides will never be the same without you singing along to the radio.”
Watch “Fast As I Can” below.