Source: Youtube/OldschoolMusicJunkie

'Lovin' You' Singer Minnie Riperton Died from Breast Cancer at Just 31 Back in 1979

Oyin Balogun
Jun 09, 2019
06:52 A.M.
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Fans will not hastily forget the talented vocalist Minnie Riperton, who unfortunately kicked the bucket at age thirty-one, after battling breast cancer.


The African American talent was famous for being multi-octave; her uniqueness in the entertainment world earned her several awards. Her outstanding performances were as a result of her mastery and blend of various genres such as pop,  jazz, and soul music.

R&B singer Minnie Riperton in August 1975 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images



Riperton journeyed into the music world at a tender age and worked as a backup singer for "Chess Records" for about seven years before she moved on to a group known as “Rotary Connection” where she was an active member.

The group toured alongside other big names such as Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Family Stone, and Janis Joplin. In 1973, she made a mark after being signed to Epic Records, with her first album titled “Perfect Angel,” which was co-produced by Stevie Wonder, and her husband, Dick Rudolph.  

R&B singer Minnie Riperton performs onstage in 1975 | Photo: Getty Images


After a while, she bagged a new record deal with Capitol Records, where she released an album known as “Minnie.” The iconic songstress was diagnosed with cancer in 1976, and she made a public declaration about her deteriorating health condition.

Meanwhile, she served as a source of inspiration for women dealing with breast cancer by expatiating on the disease and appealing to women to address it if they ever faced such a challenge.

Minnie not only received awards and commendations based on her expertise in music but also for her bravery in speaking publicly about her illness. In 1977, President Carter presented her with an honorary award for public service.


Singer Minnie Riperton at the Ivanhoe Theater, Chicago, Illinois, April 20, 1977 | Photo: Getty Image


A year later, she became the first black woman Chairman of the American Cancer Society. The legendary artist died when she was only 31 years old, but just like her fans, her family members and close relatives forever have her ingrained in their hearts.


In an interview, her daughter Maya Rudolph spoke ceaselessly on how much she admired her mother’s skills. She even stated that her mother was so dedicated to her profession and her family,  and her hit song “Lovin You” was originally a lullaby she sang for her kids. 

She continued to talk about how she felt when her mother was rehearsing and perfecting her act. She claimed that Stevie Wonder was like a family member who often visited them.  

Minnie Riperton performing on stage in New York, 1977 | Photo: Getty Images


Maya also opened up on the feelings she hoarded for years concerning her mother’s death. She said she was evasive when it came to talking about Riperton, but after years of hearing people go on about her impacts in their lives, she decided to learn to appreciate her mom.

In her words she praised her mother saying

“ I took enormous pride in knowing that she really stands out as this individual, as this one of a kind, gem of human being, of a recording artist, of a performer and really, of a woman.”