Sarah Dash, Singer and Cofounder of R&B Group LaBelle, Dead at 76

·3 min read
Sarah Dash - LaBelle
Sarah Dash - LaBelle

Michael Putland/Getty Sarah Dash

Sarah Dash, singer and co-founder of the legendary R&B group LaBelle — best known for their hit song "Lady Marmalade" — died on Monday. She was 76.

Dash's fellow LaBelle members, Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx, confirmed the news on social media Monday evening.

"We were just onstage together on Saturday and it was such a powerful and special moment," LaBelle, 77, wrote on Facebook. "Sarah Dash was an awesomely talented, beautiful and loving soul who blessed my life and the lives of so many others in more ways than I can say. I could always count on her to have my back. That's who Sarah was ... a loyal friend and a voice for those who didn't have one."

Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx of the music group Labelle
Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx of the music group Labelle

John Bryson/Shutterstock

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She continued, "She was a true giver, always serving and sharing her talent and time. I am heartbroken, as I know all of her loved ones and fans are. But I know that Sarah's spirit and all that she has given to the world live on. And I pray that her precious memory brings us peace and comfort. Rest in power my dear sister. I love you always!"

Hendryx, 76, also shared her condolences with a video tribute on Instagram, posting footage of Dash singing set to the track of their song "Nightbird."

"Words are inadequate so I will use few. We spoke a musical language, music says it best. Singing brought us together," Hendryx wrote in part. "You and Pat were singing so joyfully the other night, we talked & texted on Saturday, now you're gone, I can't believe it 💔"

Sarah Dash - LaBelle
Sarah Dash - LaBelle

Nicholas Hunt/Getty

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Dash — born on Aug. 18, 1945 in Trenton, New Jersey — created The Bluebelles with Hendryx, LaBelle and Cindy Birdsong in 1962, according to her website. After Birdsong left to join Diana Ross and the Supremes, the remaining members rebranded themselves as a trio called LaBelle in 1971.

The group became a pioneer in R&B and rock music, thanks to their famous 1974 hit "Lady Marmalade," which rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The iconic song was later re-recorded by Christina Aguilera, Mýa, Pink and Lil' Kim for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack in 2001.

After LaBelle split up in 1976, Dash launched a solo career, releasing several albums featuring songs like "Sinner Man," which reached No. 71 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Over the years, she also recorded with The Rolling Stones and Keith Richards' X-Pensive Winos.

Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx of the music group Labelle
Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx of the music group Labelle

Brad Barket/Getty

RELATED: Patti LaBelle's Grandkids Love to Sing 'Lady Marmalade': 'This Baby Is Singing Gitchy, Gitchy, Ya, Ya, Da Da!'

The girl group reunited in 2008 for the critically acclaimed album Back to Now. And in 2016, Dash was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by The National R&B Music Society, per the organization.

In the wake of her death, Reed Gusciora, mayor of Trenton, celebrated Dash's life and times in an emotional tribute on Facebook.

"This one hurts. We just worked with her earlier this year on an awareness campaign to motivate more Trentonians to get vaccinated. She didn't hesitate to help us when we needed her the most," Gusciora wrote of her humanitarian work in her hometown.

"While she may have passed from this life to the next, her star will never fade from this city and the hearts of its residents."

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