Jan Gaye Cause of Death: How Marvin Gaye’s Ex-Wife Passed Away

Janis Hunter Gaye, the second wife of Motown legend Marvin Gaye and the mother of two of his children, died on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at her home in Rhode Island. She was 66 years old. Her family did not disclose her specific cause of death, but they released a statement expressing their grief and honoring her legacy.

A Life of Love and Music

Janis Hunter Gaye, also known as Jan Gaye, was born on Jan. 5, 1956, in Los Angeles. She was the daughter of jazz musician Slim Gaillard and Barbara Hunter, a model and actress. She grew up surrounded by music and celebrities, and she developed a passion for singing and styling.

She met Marvin Gaye in 1973, when she was 17 years old and he was 34. He was still married to his first wife, Anna Gordy, the sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy. They fell in love at first sight and began a tumultuous relationship that was marked by drugs, sex, and violence.

Janis inspired some of Marvin’s most popular songs, such as “Jan”, “I Want You”, “Let’s Get It On”, and “Got to Give It Up”. She also sang backup vocals on some of his tracks and helped him discover new talent like Frankie Beverly. They had two children together: Nona Gaye, born in 1974, and Frankie Gaye, born in 1975.

They got married in 1977, after Marvin divorced Anna Gordy. However, their marriage did not last long. They separated in 1979 and divorced in 1981. They remained friends until Marvin’s tragic death in 1984. He was shot and killed by his father after a heated argument at their home in Los Angeles.

A Legacy of Strength and Grace

After Marvin’s death, Janis struggled with addiction and depression. She moved to Rhode Island with her children and tried to rebuild her life. She worked as a stylist, a manager, and an author. She also became a grandmother to four grandchildren: Nolan Pentz, Marvin Pentz III, Bianca Lawson, and Ivy Lawson.

In 2015, she published her memoir, “After the Dance: My Life With Marvin Gaye”, co-written with David Ritz. The book was a candid account of her life with Marvin, revealing their highs and lows, their joys and sorrows, their love and pain. She also shared her insights into Marvin’s music, his spirituality, his struggles, and his legacy.

She remained devoted to preserving Marvin’s memory and honoring his contributions to music and society. She also supported causes that were close to her heart, such as mental health awareness, domestic violence prevention, and environmental protection.

She died peacefully at her home on Dec. 3, 2022. Her family announced her death on Dec. 7, 2022. They did not reveal her cause of death, but they expressed their sadness and gratitude for her life.

“From the time she met my father, she was exposed to the way he saw this world was aching, and she did her best to preserve his legacy as he was taken from us far too early,” Nona Gaye said in a statement1. “She took every moment to speak about every word and every note of his music, and she wanted to make sure everyone knew the man she fell in love with.”

“From the first memory of my grandmother, I knew then and now how much she cared about her family and the warmth she gave to all of us,” grandson Nolan Pentz said1. “I will always be grateful for all the memories. She also cared about so many people in the world, and I will do everything I can to put into action the things she wanted and help continue the Gaye legacy.”

Janis Hunter Gaye was a remarkable woman who lived a remarkable life. She was a muse, a singer, a stylist, a manager, an author, a mother, a grandmother, and a friend. She was also a survivor who overcame many challenges and hardships. She will be missed by many who loved her and admired her.

Doms Desk

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