Singer Sarah Dash, part of Labelle trio known for hit 'Lady Marmalade,' dies at 76

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Sarah Dash, co-founder of the 1970s diva rock group Labelle and known for the original hit "Lady Marmalade," has died. She was 76.

Dash's business manager John Dash told USA TODAY the singer died Monday morning.

Patti LaBelle grieved her former bandmate's death on Twitter Monday evening, noting that the two performed together just days ago.

"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," LaBelle wrote. "I am heart broken as I know all of her loved ones and fans are."

Sarah Dash, part of the 1970s diva rock group Labelle has died. She was 76.
Sarah Dash, part of the 1970s diva rock group Labelle has died. She was 76.

Dash was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey and started her singing career in church with gospel music. In the 1960s, Dash formed her first group with Nona Hendryx called the Del Capris. Later Dash and Hendryx teamed up with LaBelle and Cindy Birdsong to form the Bluebelles. When Birdsong left the Bluebelles to join Diana Ross and The Supremes in the late '60s, the trio of Dash, Hendryx and LaBelle became known as Labelle. The group's hit single "Lady Marmalade" hit the No. 1 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.

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Sarah Dash, center, one of the co-founders of diva rock group Labelle known for original hit "Lady Marmalade," has died. She was 76.
Sarah Dash, center, one of the co-founders of diva rock group Labelle known for original hit "Lady Marmalade," has died. She was 76.

Hendryx also wrote a touching tribute to Dash on social media, calling her "Nightbird" alongside a clip of Dash with Labelle's "Nightbird" playing behind it.

"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 & texted on Saturday, now you’re gone, I can’t believe it. Nightbird, why not let heaven be your home."

The Labelle trio broke up in 1977, which launched Dash into a solo career in which she released four albums with hit singles like "Sinner Man" and "Low Down Dirty Rhythm." Dash also worked closely with the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards sang background vocals for the band's "Steel Wheels" album.

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Dash later became Trenton's first music ambassador in 2017. On Monday evening, Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora wrote on Facebook that Dash was the "resident legend."

"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," Gusciora wrote.

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Grammy-winning artists Ledisi and Stephanie Mills also wrote about Dash on social media.

"A bond that’s never broken. #RIP to The Legend @SarahDash," Ledisi wrote.

Stephanie Mills wrote: "Rest well my friend #SarahDash. Your kind spirit and words will always have a special place in my heart. You will be missed."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Sarah Dash death: Patti LaBelle, more stars mourn Labelle singer

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