Singer Sarah Dash, a co-founder of trailblazing US group Labelle, who had a huge hit with Lady Marmalade, has died at the age of 76.
Fellow group member Patti LaBelle confirmed the news on Twitter, saying she was “heartbroken” but that Dash’s spirit would “live on”.
“We were just on stage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment,” she posted.
Lady Marmalade went to number one on the US Billboard chart in 1975.
The track found a new audience when it was re-recorded by Christine Aguilera, Pink, Lil’ Kim and Mya for the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge in 2001.
Born in New Jersey in 1945, Dash joined up with Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx and they settled on the name LaBelle in 1971. They became known for their fusion of rock, R&B and funk, and their lavish stage outfits, including a set of spacesuits.
They opened for bands such as The Who before finding mainstream fame themselves.
After LaBelle broke up in 1976, Dash embarked on a solo career and also sang on The Rolling Stones’ 1989 album Steel Wheels and did session work for the O’Jays and Chic’s Nile Rodgers.