article by Ethan Sacks via nydailynews.com
Denise Katrina Matthews, popularly known as Vanity, a protege of Prince who achieved stardom in the 1980s as the lead singer of the all-girl group Vanity 6, died Monday in a California hospital, the gossip site TMZ reported. She was 57.
The Canadian-born pop singer and actress had been battling inflammation of her small intestines, the latest in a string of health problems. Matthews had asked fans to help her pay for her treatments through a GoFundMe page as she fought a condition called sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis. In 1994, a crack cocaine overdose left her kidneys so damaged that she required regular dialysis.
“Boy, it is not fun suffering in this body of weak flesh… but Jesus is straightening out all my crooked places in my heart as I go through this time of pain,” the born-again Christian wrote on the GoFundMe page.
It’s an all-too-soon ending for an artist who showed so much promise with Vanity 6’s 1980s hits, “Nasty Girl,” “Drive Me Wild” and “He’s So Dull” produced by Prince.
Vanity 6 toured with the megastar before Vanity broke out on her own solo career, which yielded the hits “Pretty Mess,” “Mechanical Emotion” and “Under the Influence.”
SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain pic.twitter.com/UbCWtl8brc
— SheilaEdrummer (@SheilaEdrummer) February 16, 2016
The former model also acted in a steady string of movies, including “The Last Dragon” (1985), “52 Pick-up” (1986) and “Action Jackson” (1988).
After her 1994 overdose, Matthews left Hollywood and rededicated her life to her local church.
Sources told TMZ that she attended services as recently as Saturday night, when she told her fellow congregants that she was ready to go home.