Marvin Gaye's ex wife Janis Hunter Gaye dies aged 66

Marvin Gaye's ex wife Janis has passed away credit:Bang Showbiz
Marvin Gaye's ex wife Janis has passed away credit:Bang Showbiz

Marvin Gaye's ex wife Janis Hunter Gaye has died aged 66.

The late Motown legend's second wife passed away on Saturday (03.12.22) at her house in Rhodes Island, with her family confirming the news but not revealing a cause of death.

In a statement, her daughter Nona said: "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.

"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."

She is survived by Nola, son Frankie, sister Shawnn, brother Mark and grandson Nolan.

Nola added: "She was the most influential woman in my life and many others.

"I believe once you met my mother Jan, she wasn’t a woman you could ever forget... Every day she was here it was about the love she felt for her husband, children, grandson, and the friends she met all over the world."

'Let's Get It On' singer Marvin met Janis when she was 17 - and he was married to Anna Gordy - during a recording session in LA in 1973, and he wrote 'Jan' and his album 'I Want You' for her.

They later tied the knot in 1977 when she was 21 and he was 38, although they got discovered in 1981, three years before Marvin was shot by his father and died aged 44.

Janis was jazz musician Slim Gaillard's daughter, and sang on Marvin's track 'Got To Give It Up.

Meanwhile, she later managed their own daughter Nona's acting career, and she has appeared in the likes of 'The Matrix' movies, 'Ali' and 'Crash'.

There will be a public memorial service to celebrate her life, and donations can be made to Arms Around the Child, Breathe With Me Revolution and Fund a Mom.