Former Prince protege and frontman of the sexually charged ’80s group Vanity 6, Denise Katrina Matthews died in a hospital in Fremont, California, on Monday.
According to sources close to her family, the 57-year-old singer succumbed to kidney failure and abdominal illness, both of which were linked to a previous history of drug abuse. Vanity’s biggest hit came in 1982 with the funky, synthy “Nasty Girl”, a song written and produced by Prince. Although she began her career as a model, the singer eventually ditched Hollywood, quit drugs and became a born-again Christian in the mid ’90s after overdosing on crack. She remained active in her local church up until her death.
“I don’t listen to my old music of Vanity’s unless I have to hear it playing in a mall or something place like that,” she said in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2015. “I sing to Jesus for Jesus now. This gives me pure joy … worship! I apologize profusely to those I have offended deeply a million times over.”