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Nancy Wilson, jazz legend dies at 81

Three-time Grammy winner Nancy Wilson, who debuted her first single in 1961, passed away at the age of 81.

Posted: Dec 15, 2018 11:59 AM
Updated: Dec 15, 2018 12:08 PM

Nancy Wilson, a three-time Grammy-winning artist who called herself a "song stylist," has died, her manager said.

She was 81.

Wilson passed away peacefully Thursday at her home after a long illness, her manager, Devra Hall Levy, said.

The vocalist from Chillicothe, Ohio, initially focused on R&B music but later excelled at jazz ballads and torch songs.

She made her debut with her 1961's single, "Guess Who I Saw Today."

Wilson's biggest hit came in 1964 with "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am," which rose through the charts to the #11 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 singles and earned her a Grammy Award for best R&B recording.

She would win two more Grammy Awards, in 2005 and 2007.

In the 1990s, Wilson became the host of National Public Radio's "Jazz Profiles," a documentary series featuring jazz legends and the music legacy.

After a musical and acting career spanning more than six decades, she retired from live performances in 2011. She wanted "to spend all of her time with her family, especially her grandchildren," according to her website.

Singer and songwriter John Legend reacted to Wilson's passing on Twitter.

"So sad to hear about the passing of the great Nancy Wilson. She was a magical performer. I'm so glad I was able to spend time with her and hear her beautiful voice in person," he wrote.

Wilson is survived by her three children and five grandchildren.

As per Wilson's wishes, there will be no funeral service. Instead, her family will hold a celebration of her life, most likely in February, the month of her birth.

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