Sharon Jones Died Of Pancreatic Cancer But She Went Out Singing

November 21, 2016  |  

Sharon Jones was known as the female James Brown. And if you’ve ever heard any of her music, as the leader of her band The Dap Kings, you would likely agree. Sadly, Jones left this world after a hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer.


Despite her undeniable talent, Jones didn’t reach commercial success until she was in her 40s, with the help of her band members. So it only made sense that they surround her as she passed away. Though Jones had been dealing with cancer for years, Jones said that the election results caused additional health problems.

Her band member Gabriel Roth told the L.A. Times, “She’d been fighting cancer for a few years now, and there’s been all kinds of stuff coming at her. But the thing that actually got her in the last couple of weeks was, she had a stroke watching the election results. After that first stroke she couldn’t move her leg, but she could still talk. She told the people that were there that Trump gave her the stroke,” Roth said laughing.

After Tuesday, she had another stroke on Wednesday night. Afterward she couldn’t speak.

Thankfully, Jones went out using her gift. Roth called the band and everyone came up to the hospital and she was surrounded by people she loved.

One of the band members started to play the guitar and started humming along.

Roth said, “It was kind of remarkable. She was just moaning at first, and then she was moaning in one and then she started following chord changes and pretty soon she was humming “His Eye is on the Sparrow” with him. We all just kept playing and singing with her, and little by little over the next couple of days she actually started moving her mouth and started singing the lyrics. She just wanted to sing these gospel songs. Every time we’d stop, she’d just keep singing— “Amazing Grace,” and “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” “This Little Light of Mine.” We just stayed with her and sang with her and played music with her. And, you know, it was very sad, but it was also very beautiful and kind of amazing to see that. I mean, she was the strongest person any of us had ever known, and she just kept singing. She didn’t want to stop singing.

Image via WENN

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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