Janis Hunter Gaye, Wife of Marvin Gaye, Dies At 66

She was the inspiration behind several popular Marvin Gaye songs.

Janis Hunter Gaye, the second wife of the late Motown legend Marvin Gaye, has died. She was 66.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hunter Gaye died on Saturday (Dec. 2) of an undisclosed cause at her home in Rhode Island.

“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,” her daughter, Nona Gaye, said in a statement.

Adding, “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. I will never get to see her again in this life but know she’s in heaven with my father and a spokesperson for us in spirit.”

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Marvin Gaye wrote the song “Jan” for Hunter Gaye, the record appeared on his 1974 album, Marvin Gaye Live!. His 1976 album I Want You has also been labeled as a tribute to her and in 1977 his single “Got to Give It Up,” featured her background vocals on the track.

The pair were married from 1977 and divorced in 1981. Gaye died in 1984 after being shot by his father in Los Angeles.

In 2015, she published her memoir, After the Dance: My Life With Marvin Gaye.

Survivors also include son Frankie, sister Shawnn, brother Mark and grandson Nolan.

Donations can be made to Arms Around the Child, Breathe With Me Revolution and/or Fund a Mom, in her honor.

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