American soul singer Sharon Jones, who fronted the band the Dap-Kings, has died at the age of 60.
A post on her website said: "We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings."
Jones’ cancer had been in remission but last year she announced that it had returned. It did not prevent her from continuing to tour despite undergoing chemotherapy.
Born Sharon Lafaye Jones in Augusta, Georgia on May 4, 1956, she relocated to New York at an early age, growing up in the borough of Brooklyn. She started singing in gospel groups and started a professional career in the early 70s as a session vocalist, working as a correction officer at Rikers Island and as a guard for Well Fargo to make ends meet.
She only released her first recording at the age of 40 after getting her first break with record producer and label executive Gabriel Roth, aka Bosco Mann, who released her debut single, Damn It’s Hot, on Desco Records in 1996. More releases followed on Desco, but after the label folded, Roth set up a new label with Neal Sugarman, Daptone Records, which released Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings in 2002.
She went on to release four studio albums and two compilations on Daptone. She was nominated for her first Grammy in 2014 in the Best R&B Album category, for Give The People What They Want.
British producer Mark Ronson, who worked with the Dap-Kings on Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black album and several of his own projects, including Uptown Funk. tweeted: "Sharon Jones had one of the most magnificent, gut-wrenching voices of anyone in recent times. She'll be so missed. Too sad x."
Veteran soul singer Chaka Khan also tweeted: "My deepest condolences 2 the family of @sharonjones. She was the real deal in this industry. 2016 you've been awful."
In lieu of flowers, her team have asked for donations to be made to the following organisations: The Lustgarten Foundation, James Brown Family Foundation and Little Kids Rock.