June Pointer, the youngest singer in the Pointer Sisters, whose ’80s hits included “Jump (For My Love),” “He’s So Shy” and “I’m So Excited,” died Tuesday of cancer. She was 52.
“[June died] in the arms of her sisters Ruth and Anita, and [with] her brothers, Aaron and Fritz, by her side,” the Pointer family said in a statement released Wednesday. “Although her sister Bonnie was unable to be present, she was with her in spirit.”
June had been hospitalized at University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center in Santa Monica since late February. The type of cancer she suffered from was not disclosed.
The Pointer Sisters, who learned to sing at the Oakland, California, church where their parents were ministers, began as a duo with June and Bonnie but quickly became a quartet with their other sisters, Ruth and Anita. With their gospel background, the girls merged not just R&B and soul, but jazz, scat, be-bop and country, the genre in which they won their first Grammy.
After singing backup for artists including Grace Slick, Taj Mahal and Boz Scaggs, the sisters released their self-titled debut in 1973.
The group scored some R&B hits during the ’70s and began crossing over into pop with hit singles in 1979 and 1980, including a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire.” That success exploded in 1984, after Bonnie had left the group for a solo career, with the aptly titled Break Out. Two of that album’s tracks, “Jump (For My Love)” and “Automatic,” earned Grammys, and several more hit the charts, including the “Beverly Hills Cop” anthem “Neutron Dance.”
Break Out turned the Pointer Sisters into MTV stars, but their chart reign was short-lived, and the years since have seen the group’s successes occurring mostly onstage.
June, who recorded two solo albums, suffered from substance abuse in recent years and left the group in 2004. Shortly after, she was charged with felony cocaine possession and ordered to a rehabilitation facility.