Grammy-nominated singer Sharon Jones dies following battle with cancer

Published: Nov. 18, 2016 at 8:42 PM EST
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Friday, Dec. 2, 2016

(WRDW/WAGT) -- The memorial service for Sharon Jones will be Saturday, Dec. 17 at 1:00 p.m. at the Imperial Theatre in Augusta.

Friday, Nov. 18, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Grammy-nominated soul singer Sharon Jones has passed away at the age of 60.

Jones was from North Augusta. She was born in 1956 and made her third grade singing debut at North Augusta Baptist Church. Jones later went on to become a Grammy-nominated soul singer.

Her career took off in 2014 with appearances in The Hollywood Bowl and sitting in with The Roots on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Sharon Jones moved back to North Augusta in March 2011. She had been living with her mother in New York and wanted to bring her home to North Augusta while she battled cancer herself.

She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013.

In January 2015, Sharon Jones sat down with Richard Rogers to talk about her next big move. In the 1980's, Sharon Jones worked a corrections officer. She said she got in a car accident and was out of work for 9 months and resigned. She moved on to working armed security for Wells Fargo trucks.

Sharon Jones said she met James Brown as a child and used to pretend to be him. She looked up to James Brown her whole childhood and saw him again in Italy in 2006 after performing at a music festival. She told News 12 NBC 26 how she waited forty-five minutes to get him to give her his autograph. She was able to find his wife, she hopped in the car with her to tell her she's from Augusta and when she went to get out he was there and said "God Bless you, daughter." Later that year, James Brown passed away in December.

In Jan. 2015, Jones had a small tumor removed from her liver and a month later she was back in Augusta.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings had just been nominated for 2015 Best R&B Album for "Give The People What They Want." Unfortunately they lost out to Toni Braxton & Babyface.

While she visited her hometown community, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. named Feb. 7th "Sharon Jones Day" in 2015. Sharon Jones and her band, The Dap Kings, played a benefit concert at the Bell Auditorium for the University Health Care Foundation. The next day, she flew out to Los Angeles for The Grammy Awards.

Jones was known for her commitment to her fans and her selfless, positive outlook on life. In September 2015, she announced she was starting a new round of chemo at the premier of the documentary about her life at the Toronto Film Festival.

In 2016, Sharon fought her battle with cancer, underwent medical procedures, and filmed her documentary about her life. She had to cancel her European Tour set for the month of August but she was able to make it to some shows in California.

In August 2016, the documentary,


, was released. It takes fans on her intense and courageous journey of her life in the last year. On the eve of the release of her new album, Jones was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Tour dates were cancelled, the album pushed back and Sharon entered into a fight for her life and career.

Nick Schager with Yahoo! Movies wrote: As evidenced by this first look, Miss Sharon Jones! is the portrait of an artist whose energy on stage matches her fierceness off it — especially when it came to her battle with pancreatic cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2013. With intimate access to her subject — including the moment Jones shaves her head — Kopple details her struggle to return to the microphone. As Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge wrote, “Jones’s music will always be her legacy, but thanks to Kopple’s portrait, we got a chance to see her soul.”

Jones, dubbed the "Female James Brown", recently sat down with News 12 NBC 26's Richard Rogers the day before her documentary was set to premier in her hometown. She talked about her music, her life, and the film.

She was determined to be back in Augusta to see the local premier of the documentary film at the Imperial Theater as part of the Westobou Festival in September 2016. While Jones was in Augusta, she was hospitalized complaining of vertigo and wasn't able to make it to the premiere.

"Sharon is heartbroken about this," Rogers said. "She worked very hard to make sure we got to see her story. So this is very sad for her personally."

Jones had received her latest chemo treatment two days earlier and hopped on a plane to Georgia right after.

A few days later Jones remained in the hospital and had to miss her performance at the White House but the rest of her band, The Dap Kings performed and President Obama sent her his thoughts.

Jones has performed on Saturday Night Live with Michael Buble, Madison Square Garden with Prince, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and even in the movie The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington.

The James Brown Foundation shared a note on Jones' passing. James Brown Family Foundation President Deanna Brown wrote:

Ms. Sharon Jones was a strong advocate of music education for students— THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS! Every once in a blue moon, you meet someone who truly feels like family even when they are not. Sharon Jones was that person to the James Brown Family Foundation and James Brown referred to her as “daughter”. Ms. Jones welcomed the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils on stage as her opener last February at The Bell Auditorium in Augusta, GA, on the heels of their performance at the Grammy Museum. Sharon Jones was very, very dear to us and she will be sorely, sorely missed. Our students loved and respected Ms. Jones. When she was home from touring, she would always come and work with the students. Although I'm sad, it makes me smile when I remember the time she was having so much fun that her glasses fell off her face! The JAMP students learned so much from Sharon Jones and they will always remember her passion for music and be grateful she took the time to share her talent with them. Ms. Jones was scheduled to perform at NJPAC in Newark, NJ a few days ago for a tribute to my father. I believe God arranged for her to do that tribute in the heavens right next to dad. To my sister and friend, Peace and Love. Deanna Brown Thomas President of The James Brown Family Foundation Founder of James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following organizations:

Cure Pancreatic Cancer - The Lustgarten Foundation

James Brown Family Foundation

Little Kids Rock

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following organizations:

Cure Pancreatic Cancer - The Lustgarten Foundation