June Pointer, 52, singer and youngest member of the music group the Pointer Sisters, died Tuesday of cancer at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, according to a family statement released by publicist Dick Guttman.
The Pointers are best known for their hit songs during the 1980s like “I’m So Excited” and “Fire.” They grew up in Oakland, Calif. in a strict household with traditions based on religion. Their parents were ministers and they sang in the choir at West Oakland Church of God. To their family, the music they became involved in was the “Devils music.”
The Pointers also included Bonnie, Anita and Ruth. The group formed as June and Bonnie worked the club circuit. After Anita joined in 1969, they were signed to Atlantic Records. Then Ruth joined the group in 1972.
Although, the group enjoyed a level of success, June was treated for several mental breakdowns during the 1970s and struggled with drugs like Valium and alcohol. At one point, her behavior became so unstable that her sisters asked her to leave the group.
June released a solo effort in 1980 titled “Baby Sister” and in 1989 called “June Pointer.” In the latter year she posed for Playboy magazine, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Pointer Sisters went on to do several more albums, like “Break Out,” in 1984, which they won two Grammys for and a song from the album titled, “Neutron Dance,” was featured in the hit Eddie Murphy movie “Beverly Hills Cop.” The sisters took to the stage in the ’90s with the show “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”
She once told LA Times that drugs had been a part of her life since the age of 13 and in 2000 the paper said, “June’s behavior had become increasingly erratic, fueled by crack cocaine, which she had been using for a couple of years, and tranquilizer Xanax.” She finally went to a rehabilitation program in West Los Angeles.
June told People magazine that “her soul was broke,” and that she was tired of “trying to hide my pain,” speaking of her 30-year addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.