R&B singer Vesta Williams was found dead Thursday of a possible drug overdose in a Southern California hotel room. She was 53.
Best known for her hits “Sweet, Sweet Love” and “Congratulations,” the crooner was born Mary Vesta Williams on Dec. 1, 1957, to a disc jockey in Coshocton, Ohio, the AP reports.
Williams also acted, playing a saloon singer in the Mario Van Peebles movie “Posse” and having a recurring role on the television situation comedy “Sister, Sister,” playing actress Jackee Harry’s best friend Monica.
Harry tweeted her condolences: “…just received truly devastating news: R&B great, and my friend of many yrs, Vesta Williams (@vesta4u), has passed away. #RIPVesta”
Her initial success in the music industry came as a background singer for artists ranging from Chaka Khan, Anita Baker and Sting. But she would eventually establish her career with release of her first album, “Vesta,” in 1986.
Williams was scheduled to perform at the 21st annual “DIVAS Simply Singing!” in Los Angeles next month, put on by her friend and fellow entertainer Sheryl Lee Ralph. The Oct. 22 show will now pay tribute to her and another late soul singer, Teena Marie.
“She was really excited about doing divas,” Ralph said, adding Williams was also scheduled to be the subject of a TVOne “Unsung” episode.
An autopsy will determine the cause of death. A toxicology examination will take six weeks to be completed
Ralph said Williams is survived by an adult daughter.