Sarah Dash, the legendary singer best known as the cofounder of the all-female trio Labelle, died Monday at the age of 76. Her death was confirmed by singer and fellow bandmate Patti LaBelle, who posted a statement on social media following news of Dash's death.
"We were just onstage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment!" Labelle wrote on Twitter and on Instagram, where she shared a video of Dash performing. "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."
"Rest in power my dear sister," LaBelle concluded. "I love you always!"
Bandmate Nona Hendryx, who rounded out the singing group with Dash and LaBelle, also posted a tribute on Instagram and shared that she'd spoken to her friend only days before she died.
"Words are inadequate so I will use few. We spoke a musical language, music says it best," she wrote. "You and Pat were singing so joyfully the other night, we talked and texted on Saturday, now you're gone and I can't believe it."
Born in Trenton N.J., Dash started her career by creating a vocal group called the Capris. She met Hendryx, LaBelle, and future Supremes singer Cindy Birdsong when she moved to Philadelphia in the mid-6os. The group formed a quartet called The Bluebelles, later renamed Patt LaBelle and the Bluebelles. When Birdsong left the group in 1967, the group became known simply as Labelle and quickly gained attention for their unique sound and talent, signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1971.
Labelle released a self-titled debut album in 1971 and a trio of albums thereafter, ultimately finding mainstream success and international acclaim with "Lady Marmalade," a song off their "Nightbirds" album. The popular tune, which hit the Billboard Top 100, found new popularity in 2001 with the release of the film Moulin Rogue when Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya, and Pink performed a rendition of the song.
Al Pereira/Getty Images Sarah Dash
Dash embarked on a successful solo career after Labelle disbanded in 1977, releasing three additional albums and touring with Rolling Stones' Keith Richards in the late '80s. She also contributed her vocals to the Stones' 1989 record "Steel Wheels." In 1995, she reunited with her Labelle bandmates to perform the dance song "Turn It Out" and returned to the group once again in 2008 to release a final album called "Back to Now" which was produced by Lenny Kravitz and Wyclef Jean.
In 2003, Dash was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. A proud Trenton native, she returned to her city multiple times over the years to perform and attend charity events, becoming Trenton's first music ambassador.
"Our motto, 'Trenton Makes, the World Takes' was alive and well with Sarah," Trenton N.J. Mayor Reed Guscoria wrote on his Facebook page. "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."