Vanity, lead singer of the ’80s girl group Vanity 6, has died after years of battling kidney failure and, more recently, an abdominal illness.
Vanity, whose real name was Denise Katrina Matthews, passed away in a Fremont, CA hospital on Monday … according to sources close to her family.
She had been battling kidney failure and abdominal illness in recent years.
The singer’s health had worsened in recent months.
Four months ago, she launched aGoFundMe campaign to pay for medical bills.
On it, she revealed she was diagnosed with sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, which causes a blockage of the small bowel.
She’d asked for $50,000 but raised less than $7,000.
She also battled crack addiction in the ’90s, and after a 1994 OD her kidneys were shot.
She had to undergo nearly daily dialysis treatments.
Matthews, who began her career as a model, met Prince backstage at the American Music Awards in 1980, and the pair soon sparked both a romantic and creative relationship.
“He wanted me to call myself ‘Vagina,'”
she told People in 1984.
“He said people would know me nationwide. I said, ‘No kidding.'”
Vanity’s biggest hit came in 1982 with “Nasty Girl” … a song produced by Prince.
The group toured with Prince on his 1999 tour, but she quit right after that.
She went on to sign a solo record deal with Motown, and starred in movies like “The Last Dragon” and “Action Jackson.”
As a solo artist, she scored more pop hits in the mid-Eighties, including “Pretty Mess,” “Mechanical Emotion” and “Under the Influence.”
She also attracted controversy for her lecherous image, notably earning a place on the Parents Music Resource Center’s “Filthy 15” for “Strap on ‘Robbie Baby'” in 1985.
She eventually ditched Hollywood, quit drugs and became a born-again Christian in the mid ’90s.
The experience led her to evangelism. She would go on to write the memoir Blame It on Vanity about her experiences, and she led her own Pure Heart Ministries in Fremont.
She remained active in her local church up until her death.
We’re told she was in church on Saturday evening and told the congregation she was
“ready to go home.”
Vanity was 57.