Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter, vocalist and co-founder of Sly and the Family Stone, has passed away after battling cancer. She was 69.
Robinson's death was announced on her Facebook page early Monday (Nov. 23) morning. The mother of two was a trailblazer for female musicians. Apart from being a member of the first fully diverse psychedelic funk band, she was one of the first Black female trumpet players to lead a major American band.
Robinson helped found Sly and the Family Stone in the late ‘60s. The collective is known for hits like “I Want to Take You Higher,” “Everybody Is a Star” and “Everyday People,” their first single to simultaneously hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Soul Singles and Hot 100 charts.
After the band dissolved in 1975, Robinson was the only original member to keep working with Family Stone founder Sly Stone. She also played in Family Stone bassist Larry Graham’s Graham Central Station and continued to perform throughout the years. The Family Stone was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
In a 2013 interview, Robinson talked about the lasting impact of the Family Stone’s music. “I know the songs that Sly wrote still have the meaning for those that are living today that weren't even around when we started playing before, in the beginning,” she said. “His lyrics, to me, if you listen to them, they can form a lifestyle that will leave you a happier person, a better person on this planet. It's just lyrics to live by."
Read the Facebook message on Robinson's passing below.
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(Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)