Prince protégé Vanity dies at 57

Denise Katrina Matthews, also known as Vanity, died Feb. 15 at a hospital in Fremont, Calif. She was 57.

160219_metro03Matthews was the lead singer of the Prince group Vanity 6 from the 1980s and 1990s. She died from kidney failure and an abdominal illness.

Matthews was born on Jan. 4, 1959, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She was a model in Canada before moving to the U.S.

She met Prince at the 1980 American Music Awards and they began dating, according to People Magazine.

Singer, actress
Her 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.”

She was previously married to NFL star Anthony Smith who recently was sentenced to a life sentence for murder.

Just months ago, she set up a GoFundMe page after having been diagnosed with sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, an inflammation of the small intestines.

She had battled a drug addition, and her a 1994 overdose, her kidneys were destroyed. She had to undergo nearly daily dialysis treatments.

Active in ministry
She gave up the entertainment business and drugs and became a born-again Christian in the mid-1990s. She remained active in her local church up until her death. Reports say she was in church the evening of Feb. 13 and told the congregation she was “ready to go home.”

She is survived by her mother and three sisters.

Information from EURWEB was used in compiling this report.

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