Although her post music career was marred with drug abuse and health issues, she turned her life around and become an renowned evangelist in California and toured extensively preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of her fellow church goers recall that she said she would was “ready to go home” at her last visit in church. She ultimately died of complications relating to kidney disease on Monday, February 15, 2016 at the age of 57.
We recently learned that Prince was on the first leg of his Piano and Microphone Tour in Australia when he heard the news. Apparently, he was hit rather hard by the news although they had not been in a romantic relationship for decades.
Here is more from News.com.au:
Prince may be the last of his kind.
Australia is the surprise first global leg of his Piano and a Microphone solo tour, a tour which didnt exist a month ago but will be talked about for years.
Armed just with a piano and that immense talent, Prince put on the kind of concert you just dont expect to see from a superstar. It was spontaneous and intimate. It was like a private piano party, just with 2000 people watching. It was pure Prince.
His first Melbourne show at the State Theatre was particularly emotionally charged Prince admitting hed just found out about the death of Denise Matthews, aka Vanity, his ex-girlfriend from the early 80s and protoge when she fronted the band Vanity 6.
Someone dear to us has passed away, Im gonna dedicate this song to her, Prince said before playing a touching version of Little Red Corvette with a touch of Dirty Mind songs from the era when they were together.
Prince reworked his classic The Ladder to replace the name Electra with Vanity so the lyrics ran This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity who loved him with a passion, uncontested.
After an encore Prince returned to the stage noting I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. Im trying to stay focused, its a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one. That introduced a truly incredible version of The Beautiful Ones, another song from the Vanity era (she was the original choice for lead in the Purple Rain movie), the song ending with Prince changing my knees for Denise … Denise.
Unusually chatty and candid, he continued going off script. Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise? Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.
Prince then opened up about a fight where he threatened to throw Vanity in the pool. She said You cant throw me in the pool, youre too little. He then asked his six foot bodyguard Chick to do the dirty work for him.
I probably shouldnt be telling this story, he said, but shed want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.
Note: Although the original video was removed, please check out this really amazing review of the show by one of our favorite podcasts: Peach and Black podcast.