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Anita Pointer of the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters, who rose to fame in the 1970s and ’80s with “I’m So Excited” and other hits, died of cancer Saturday, her publicist announced. She was 74.
Pointer was surrounded by her family at the time of death, her publicist said in a statement.
Pointer was the second oldest of the four sisters, who began singing in their father’s church in Oakland, California, more than 50 years ago. She is survived by her sister Ruth, brothers Aaron and Fritz and granddaughter Roxie.
Pointer’s only daughter, Jada, died in 2003. Her sister Bonnie, who was also one of the group’s founding members but left in the mid-1970s for a solo career, died in 2020 at age 69. The youngest sister, June, died in 2006.
“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada and her sisters June & Bonnie and at peace,” the family said in a statement.
“She was the one that kept all of us close and together for so long. Her love of our family will live on in each of us. Please respect our privacy during this period of grief and loss. Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there,” they added.
The Pointer Sisters started as a trio in 1969 when Anita quit her secretary job to join her sisters Bonnie and June, the statement said.
Bill Graham signed them to a management contract, and they went on tour with Elvin Bishop. The oldest sister, Ruth, joined the group in 1972 to form the quartet.
The Pointer Sisters released their debut album in 1973, with their single “Yes We Can Can” becoming an instant hit, ranking No. 11 on the Billboard charts.
They won the Grammy a year later in 1974 with their crossover hit “Fairytale,” from the “That’s a Plenty” album, which Anita wrote with Bonita and which Elvis Presley also recorded later.
The group would go on to win two more Grammy awards in 1984 for “Automatic,” part of their bestselling album “Breakout,” and they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994. They also performed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics closing ceremony.
Among their biggest hits were the R&B sensation “Fire,” which reached No. 12 on the charts, and “Jump (For My Love).”
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Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters dies at 74 – NBC News