Celebrity | Music

Jazz Legend Nancy Wilson Has Passed Away At 81

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She had a voice that made the whole world stop and listen, but jazz singer Nancy Wilson’s manager shared the sad news that the multiple Grammy-winner has passed away.

Wilson, 81, was one of jazz music’s most popular performers and a platinum-certified recording artist. In the 1960s, at the height of Wilson’s career, her records trailed just Frank Sinatra and the Beatles on the top sales charts.

Nancy Wilson
Wilson won three Grammy awards, and earned dozens of other honors.Jac. de Nijs - National Archives of Brasil - Wikimedia

While announcing the sad news, Wilson’s manager and publicist, Devra Hall Levy, revealed the singer had been suffering from an unspecified illness for some time. She passed away at her home in Pioneertown, California.

In a career that stretched back to the 1950s, Wilson released more than 70 albums, and crossed over into multiple genres, including pop and R&B, before retiring in 2011.

"I have always just sung," Wilson reflected on her life in 1994. "I have never questioned what it is. I thank God for it and I just do it."

Some of her best-loved hits from throughout the years include 1961’s "Guess Who I Saw Today" and "(You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am."

Wilson also appeared on television, including her own Emmy-winning 1970s variety series The Nancy Wilson Show, and as Denise Huxtable's mother-in-law on the Cosby Show.

Public radio listeners will also recognize Wilson’s voice from her long-running Jazz Profiles series.

Along with her three Grammy awards, Wilson earned countless honors including a "Jazz Masters Fellowship" from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a place in Atlanta's International Civil Rights Walk of Fame.

Singer John Legend was one of the many fans who paid tribute to Wilson on social media after news of her passing broke:

Wilson, who was married and divorced twice, is survived by her three children and five grandchildren.

[H/T: USA Today]

What an incredible career! May she rest in peace.

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