On Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, singer and actress Denise Matthews passed away at the age of 57 in a hospital in the Bay Area city of Fremont, California. Cocaine abuse cost her both kidneys, and she lived in dialysis. That and other ailments claimed her life, but before she left this Earth, she knew the source of her hope of salvation.
In 1980, she met musician and entrepreneur Prince and became one of his protégés, fronting a group called Vanity 6, whose biggest hit, produced by Prince, was “Nasty Girl.”
Matthews, going by the name Vanity, went on to have a solo career and appear in such movies as “The Last Dragon,” “Miami Vice,” “Action Jackson” and “Highlander.” Along the way, she became addicted to crack, leading to renal failure in 1994.
As detailed in her 2010 autobiography, “Blame It on Vanity: Hollywood, Hell and Heaven,” Matthews turned away from her wild life and embraced sobriety and Christ.
Friend and fellow musician MC Hammer told a very personal story in three tweets …
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
I was looking for her Sunday and the announcement came that she fell ill during the night,she ended up on life support She loved the Lord — MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) February 16, 2016
You’ll see lots of photos and videos from Matthews’ musical heyday, but I suspect this 2010 interview is how she’d like to be remembered:
Ironically, the day before Matthews died, Pope Francis tweeted this:
May the Lord help us overcome the temptations of wealth, vanity and pride which seek to destroy the truth of the Gospel.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) February 14, 2016
Image: YouTube screenshot