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Denise Matthews (1959 - 2016)

Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

Denise Matthews (1959 - 2016)

Denise Matthews, aka Vanity, who fronted the group Vanity 6 but was known best for collaborating with the legendary singer Prince, has died at a hospital in California. She was 57, according to

Matthews' death Feb. 15 in Fremont, California, was confirmed by Gisela Hernandez, spokeswoman for Washington Hospital Health Care System. No cause of death was reported.

The former singer, who was born Denise Katrina Matthews Jan. 4, 1959, in Niagara Falls, Canada. started out as a model. Beginning in 1980, she appeared in films, including "52 Pick-Up," "Action Jackson" and “The Last Dragon.”

She also fronted the group Vanity 6, which associated closely with Prince. Vanity 6 released just a single album and was active from 1981 until 1983. The band was well-known for the 1982 R&B hit “Nasty Girl.”

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After the group broke up, Matthews went solo, releasing the albums “Wild Animal” and “Skin on Skin.” She also released the hit singles “Pretty Mess,” “Mechanical Emotion” and “Under the Influence.”

By the 1990s, Matthews had left the music world to follow Jesus Christ, becoming an evangelist.

Word of Matthews' death generated condolence messages on social media platforms.

Sheila Escovedo, a percussionist and born-again Christian who also performed with Prince, tweeted: "SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain."

Prince offered a tribute to Matthews at a concert in Melbourne, Australia the day after her death. He dedicated his performance of "Little Red Corvette" to her as well as making references to her in other songs and telling stories about her throughout the concert. At one point, he admitted his grief to the audience: "I'm trying to stay focused, it's a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming."

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