Bay Area legends MC Hammer and Sheila E are remembering with fondness their friend Denise Matthews, '80s pop star and Prince protegé Vanity, who passed away at a Fremont hospital Monday.
The cause of Matthews' death has not been revealed, but she disclosed on a GoFundMe campaign four months ago that she had been diagnosed with sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis. She was also known to have spent years on kidney dialysis.
A born-again Christian since 1994, Matthews settled in the Bay Area, where she maintained friendships with both Sheila E and MC Hammer. The latter took to Twitter Monday to express his condolences and express his gratitude for seeing her speak and say goodbye to the fellow members of her church on Saturday.
"Today my friend & Sister Denise Katrina Matthews p/k/a #Vanity passed away," he wrote. "She absolutely loved GOD unto salvation. Rest in his Glory. . . Saturday #Vanity left church after giving a beautiful testimony of appreciation for her Pastors & Thanks to her savior Jesus, I was there. . . 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."
"SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain," wrote musician Sheila E, who was once engaged to Prince.
The goal of Matthews' campaign was to widely re-release her out-of-print autobiography, "Blame It on Vanity." She had created a limited-edition second version with more photographs and stories and was selling her last six copies for $250 on the book's website at the time of her passing. They're also listed for $267 and up on Amazon.