Prince Protege Vanity Dies at 57
She said she got a 2nd chance after quitting music biz
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2016 12:00 AM CST
Denise Matthews.   (Wikipedia/Mahalia80)

(Newser) – Prince protege Denise Matthews, better known to '80s music fans as Vanity, has died from kidney failure at a hospital in California, the Los Angeles Times reports. She was 57. The Canadian-born lead singer of the group Vanity 6 had several big hits in the early '80s, including 1982's Prince-produced "Nasty Gal," and released two solo records after the group split up in 1984, reports Variety, which notes that she also had numerous roles in '80s action movies, including The Last Dragon, 52 Pick-Up, and Action Jackson.

Variety notes that in 1994,, Matthews almost died from liver failure caused by her addiction to crack cocaine. She claimed Jesus appeared to her and offered her a second chance at life—if she got out of the entertainment business. She received a kidney transplant in 1997 and became a born-again Christian evangelist, telling her story in her autobiography Blame It on Vanity. CNN reports that she is being mourned by celebrities including fellow Prince protege Sheila E, who tweeted: "SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain."