Sharon Jones, the singer who spearheaded a soul revival movement with her band the Dap-Kings, has died at the age of 60.
Jones died on Friday in a New York hospital after a battle with pancreatic cancer, her representative said.
Despite her powerhouse voice, Jones failed to make a breakthrough for decades until a recording session led to a Dap-Kings album in 2002.
The band later won a Grammy nomination and performed at Glastonbury.
British producer Mark Ronson was among those paying tribute.
He used the Dap-Kings as the backing band for another soul revival star, Amy Winehouse, on her breakthrough album Back in Black, released in 2006.
He said: “Sharon Jones had one of the most magnificent, gut-wrenching voices of anyone in recent time.”
‘You got to be brave’
Members of the band were at her bedside when she died, her representative, Judy Miller Silverman, said.
The cancer was diagnosed in 2013 but failed to stop Jones performing during periods of remission.
“It’s therapy,” she said in July. “I know I need rest and sleep. But I want to work and that is our job.
“`You got to be brave. I want to use the time that I have. I don’t want to spend it all laid up, wishing I had done that gig,” she told Associated Press.
Barbara Kopple, who directed the documentary Miss Sharon Jones! released this year, said the singer even lit up hospital wards when she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
She said: “When people are around or there’s an audience, that gives her fuel and she forgets her pain.”
Jones was born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1956 and sang in gospel choirs and backing bands. However, real success eluded her and she took many jobs, including as a corrections officer at the Rikers Island jail.
But a recording session performance led to the formation of the Dap-Kings and the release of Dap-Dippin’ With Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings in 2002, when Jones was 46.
Six more albums followed, including the Grammy-nominated Give the People What They Want.