(blackmediaSCOOP) R&B singer Vesta Williams, who had hits in the 1980s with “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and “Congratulations,” was found dead late Thursday evening of a possible drug overdose in an El Segundo hotel room.
An autopsy will determine the cause of death, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s officials, but they said a drug overdose is suspected.
Cops tell BMS off the record that her death is being treated as either an accident or suicide, but not a homicide.
Born Mary Vesta Williams in Coshocton, Ohio, on Dec. 1, 1957, she had hits with “Don’t Blow A Good Thing,” “Sweet, Sweet Love” and the torch song “Congratulations,” in which she emotionally bids goodbye to her ex, about to marry someone else, on his wedding day. Although Williams never had any albums certified gold and never had any Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, she scored seven Top 20 R&B hits from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s.
Besides her solo work, she was a member of the singing group Wild Honey and was a backup singer for Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker and others.
Williams also had small acting roles, including on the TV series “Sister, Sister” in the late 1990s.
Here is her last performance just a few days ago. Watch Vesta performing “Congratulations” at The Autumn Jazz Explosion September 17, 2011, – Portsmouth, VA (Thanks to all on Facebook & Twitter for pointing out)
Her friends, Sherly Lee Ralph, Jackee Harry & Sherri Shepherd shared their condolences on Twitter:
In the 1990s, Williams made headlines for her dramatic weight loss. She told Ebony that she began gaining weight rapidly after her singing career started to falter. Vesta, who was 5-foot-3, eventually reached a size 26. She said her size was the reason she lost her recording contract.
“When I lost my record deal and my phone wasn’t ringing, I realized that I had to reassess who Vesta was and figure out what was going wrong,” she said. “I knew it wasn’t my singing ability. So it had to be that I was expendable because I didn’t have the right look.”
The singer went on to lose 100 lbs, and got down down to a size 6, while finding something of a second career as a songwriter and session singer. In recent years, Vesta had become an advocate for the prevention of childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes. Let’s keep her family in our prayers.
We will update this story as soon as more details are revealed…stay tuned….
What was your fave Vesta song? Do you have a favorite Vesta memory?