Sarah Dash, an original member of the "Lady Marmalade" hitmaking group Labelle, has died at 76.
The news was confirmed on Monday by Reed Gusciora, the mayor of Dash's hometown of Trenton, N.J.
"Today I grieve with the city of Trenton and a worldwide community of fans. Our resident legend and Trenton’s very first music ambassador, Sarah Dash, has passed away. My heart goes out to her family and friends," she wrote on Facebook.
Gusciora also commended Dash for her contributions to the community.
"What Sarah made was beautiful music refined by a lifetime of experience and numerous contributions to the arts and the community. What the world takes is a timeless inspiration of a woman who touched the highest peaks of stardom and never forgot where she came from," she continued. "This one hurts. We just worked with her earlier this year on an awareness campaign to motivate more Trentonians to get vaccinated. She didn’t hesitate to help us when we needed her the most."
Born in 1954, Dash's musical career got its start after she moved to Philadelphia and joined the quartet the Bluebirds, which later changed its name to Patti Labelle and the Bluebirds, in 1962, according to Ultimate Rock Guitar. Over the next few years, the group released several hits including popular R&B tracks "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" and "Down the Aisle (The Wedding Song)," and also opened up for the Rolling Stones.
After experiencing several lineup changes, the group, which became a trio, later renamed itself Labelle. They released a self-titled LP featuring several covers in 1971 but it was three years later that the group skyrocketed to fame with its massive hit "Lady Marmalade," which went platinum and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Labelle split up in 1976 and Dash went on to pursue a solo career in which she achieved relative success working with Keith Richards as well as the Rolling Stones. In 2003, she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Upon hearing news of her death, former band mare Patti Labelle took to Instagram to honor Dash's memory.
"We were just on-stage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment!," the singer wrote. "Sarah Dash was an awesomely talented, beautiful, and loving soul who blessed my life and the lives of so many others in more ways than I can say. And I could always count on her to have my back! That’s who Sarah was…a loyal friend and a voice for those who didn’t have one. She was a true giver…always serving, always sharing her talent and her time."
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