Janis Hunter Gaye, the second wife of singer Marvin Gaye, has died aged 66, her
family has announced.
Hunter Gaye passed away on Saturday at her home in Rhode Island of an undisclosed
cause.Janis Hunter Gaye became the inspiration to several songs of her late
husband’s during the years they were together, after first meeting in 1973 during a
recording session in Los Angeles, where he recorded his iconic album Let’s Get It On,
released that year.
Gaye was married to Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister at the time, and was 34
when he met 17-year-old Hunter Gaye. The pair eventually married in 1977 and had
In 1974, the musician wrote the song Jan in dedication to Hunter Gaye, included in
his 1974 album Marvin Gaye Live!, and his 1976 album I Want You was considered by
songwriter Michael Eric Dyson to be “a romantic and erotic” tribute to her.
Hunter Gaye discussed her relationship with the famous musician in memoir After
the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye, released in 2015.
The late author was brought up as a foster child, and left a children’s home to live
with her mother Barbara Hunter aged 17. Through her mother’s music connections,
she met Gaye in the studio.
Daughter Nona Gaye gave tribute to her mother in a statement, following the news of
She 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.”
The retired actress, 48, continued: “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.
“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.