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R.I.P. Vanity, frontwoman of Vanity 6 and Prince protégé, dead at 57

on February 15, 2016, 8:52pm

Denise Katrina Matthews, the singer known professionally as Vanity, has died at the age of 57. According to TMZ, the cause of death was kidney failure and an abdominal illness.

Matthews was discovered by Prince in 1980. At his urging, she took on the moniker Vanity and fronted the band Vanity 6 alongside Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie. Under Prince’s guidance, Vanity 6 released their self-titled debut in 1982, highlighted by the chart-topping single “Nasty Girl”. The band also accompanied Prince on his 1999 Tour.

After just one album, Vanity departed Vanity 6 to launch a solo career through Motown Records. She released two solo records, and also contributed to the soundtrack to the 1988 film Action Jackson, of which she also starred in.

Matthews was romantically linked to Prince in the early 80s, and they appeared together on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1981. She was briefly engaged to Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx in 1987, but they never married.