Denise Matthews, best known by her stage name Vanity, lead singer of the 1980s band Vanity 6, died Monday in a Fremont, California hospital, from kidney failure and an abdominal illness. She was 57.
Denise Matthews, Prince protege and lead singer of 1980s group Vanity 6, has died aged 57 https://t.co/AMaTXfgG8B pic.twitter.com/vjqKYYpoJu
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 16, 2016
Once involved in a romance with legendary singer/songwriter Prince, he helped Denise Matthews on her road to stardom.
Vanity 6’s biggest hit came in 1982. “Nasty Girl” made it all the way to number one on the Billboard dance charts.
Denise Matthews disbanded Vanity 6 in 1984 and signed as a solo artist with Motown Records. She released two records, “Wild Animal” and “Skin on Skin.”
After making her records she tried her hand at acting, starring opposite John Stamos in Never Too Young to Die.
Denise Matthews was linked in the 1990s to rocker boyfriends including Billy Idol, Adam Ant, and Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx. It was during that time she also developed an addiction to crack cocaine. Her addiction nearly cost her her life in 1994 when her kidneys nearly failed. She later said Jesus Christ appeared to her during that period of time, and she gave up her Vanity persona in order to follow him, at his supposed bidding.
MC Hammer noted via social media that Denise Matthews was a devout Christian up to the moment of her passing.
??Today my friend & Sister Denise Katrina Matthews p/k/a #Vanity passed away. She absolutely loved GOD unto salvation. Rest in his Glory ??
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) February 16, 2016
Denise Matthews spent the remainder of her life sober and as a devoted practicing Christian. She developed serious medical problems in recent years because of the drug abuse from her past.
R.I.P. Vanity, frontwoman of Vanity 6 and Prince protégé, has died at the age of 57: https://t.co/7VIulLXrBi pic.twitter.com/t6gBKj902Q
— Consequence of Sound (@coslive) February 16, 2016
Were you a Vanity 6 fan in the 1980s? If so, you no doubt recall Denise Matthews in her music persona as Vanity. How sad she has lost her life at such a young age.