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R.I.P. Cynthia Robinson, Sly and the Family Stone trumpeter, has died at the age of 69

on November 24, 2015, 5:55pm

Photo​ ​from Cynthia Robinson’s Facebook

Cynthia Robinson, a co-founding member and trumpeter for Sly and the Family Stone, has died. After being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, the 69-year-old lost her battle with the disease on Monday.

Born in Sacramento, California, Robinson joined Sly Stone’s first band, The Stoners, in the mid-1960s, and later became a member of Sly and the Family Stone. Her voice and horn can be heard on every album recorded from 1967’s A Whole New Thing to 1974’s Small Talk. After the band broke up in 1975, she continued recording with Stone as well as bassist Larry Graham’s Graham Central Station. At various points in her career, Robinson also played with Prince and George Clinton. Along with Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, as well as her daughter with Sly, Sylvette Phunne Stone, she would later perform under the name The Family Stone.

Robinson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside the other members of Sly and the Family Stone in 1993, becoming the first first female and first African-American trumpet player ever inducted into the Hall.

Below, read the homage Questlove recently posted to Instagram, followed by some of Robinson’s classic performances with The Family Stone.

All The Squares Go Home. Goodbye to Cynthia Robinson. Music's original "hypeman" 20 years before Public Enemy pioneered the "Vice President" position. But she wasn't just a screaming cheerleading foil to Sly & Freddie's gospel vocals. She was a KICK ASS trumpet player. A crucial intricate part of Sly Stone's utopian vision of MLK's America: Sly & The Family Stone were brothers & cousins. friends & enemies. black & white. male & female. saint & sinner. common man & superheroes. guarded & vulnerable. poets & punks. hip & square. She was so cool to us the day we opened up for #SlyAndTheFamilyStone she never ever lost a step or a beat. Even when we weren't so sure if Sly was coming or going during that "comeback" tour (he'd play 20 mins, come onstage and cameo w em for 2 songs, leave, watch them then come back 30 mins later) Cynthia Robinson held that band down. Until her passing The Family Stone was one of the last few #RRHOF groups from the 60s in which ALL original members were still present & accounted for. part of me held hope that #LarryGraham would bury the hatchet & return to the fold just one more time (could you imagine HOW powerful a Sly #GCS combo coulda been? Even if Sly pulled that 6 song ish you know and I know #Prince would be in the wings as pinch hitter and we'd all be the more wiser for it. Cynthia's role in music history isn't celebrated enough. Her & sister Rose weren't just pretty accessories there to "coo" & "shoo wop shoo bob" while the boys got the glory. Naw. They took names and kicked ass while you were dancing in the aisle. Much respect to amazing #CynthiaRobinson

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

“Dance to the Music”:

“Thank You”:

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