During the final weeks of Sharon Jones’ life, and her prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer, she suffered a stroke while watching the presidential election, her bandmates said.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Dap-Kings member Gabriel Roth said that it was a stroke that pushed Jones’ health over the edge.
“She told the people that were there that [Donald] Trump gave her the stroke. She was blaming Trump for the whole thing,” Roth said. “She’d been fighting cancer for a few years now, and there’s been all kinds of stuff coming at her. But the thing that actually got her in the last couple of weeks was, she had a stroke watching the election results. After that first stroke, she couldn’t move her leg, but she could still talk.”
Roth went on to say that Jones was surrounded by both friends and family during her last days, and even hummed along to music.
“It was kind of remarkable. She was just moaning at first, and then she was moaning in tune and then she started following chord changes and pretty soon she was humming ‘His Eye on the Sparrow,’” he said. “We all just kept playing and singing with her, and little by little over the next couple of days, she actually started moving her mouth and started singing lyrics. She just wanted to sing these gospel songs. Every time we’d stop, she’d just keep singing—‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain,’ ‘This Little Light of Mine.’ We just stayed with her and sang with her and played music with her.”
Jones died Friday. She was 60 years old.