Minnie Riperton's death from cancer at the age of 31 in 1979 robbed the world of one of its most beautiful and best-loved voices. Her angelic 1975 international hit 'Lovin' You' had touched people all over the world with its gentle sincerity, establishing her as one of the world's most distinctive and universally popular singers. She grew up in the Bronzeville neighbourhood on Chicago's Southside and studied music, drama and dance at the Lincoln Center. Going on to sing lead with the girl group The Gems, she was signed to Chess Records and sang back-up for various established acts including Etta James, Fontella Bass, Ramsey Lewis, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. She also released a solo single using the alias Andrea Davis and sang lead with the psychedelic soul band Rotary Connection, who released their self-titled debut album in 1968 and had alternative radio hits with 'Amen' and 'Lady Jane'. However, their failure to gain mainstream acceptance led her to re-launch her solo career in earnest in 1970 when she teamed up with her husband Richard Rudolph and one of her Rotary Connection collaborators Charles Stepney to co-write and produce her solo album 'Come to My Garden'. Relocating to Los Angeles she toured with Stevie Wonder as a member of his backing band Wonderlove and sang on his 'Fulfillingness' First Finale' and, in return, Wonder produced Ripperton's 1974 album 'Perfect Angel'. This was the album that included 'Lovin' You', the song that turned her into a household name. She continued to be a major pop-soul star on the back of subsequent albums 'Adventures in Paradise' and 'Stay in Love' but in 1976 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and given just six months to live, during which time she continued to tour and record, while becoming spokesperson for the American Cancer Society. Her final album 'Minnie' was recorded in 1979 shortly before her death; one of its singles 'Memory Lane' was nominated for a Grammy Award. Following her death several artists including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Peabo Bryson collaborated on a tribute album 'Love Lives Forever'.