Anita Pointer, one of the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters whose string of pop, country and R&B hits in the 1970s and ’80s included “I’m So Excited,” “Jump (For My Love)” and “Fire,” died of cancer on Saturday at age 74, her publicist said.
Pointer died at her Beverly Hills home, surrounded by family, according to publicist Roger Neal.
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According to an official biography, Anita was the second oldest of four sisters who began performing as the duo of June and Bonnie in 1969 and quickly became a trio when Anita quit her job as a secretary to join the group.
The Pointer Sisters later became a quartet for a time, with Ruth as the only original singing sister still alive, but Bonnie left the group in the late 1970s, and they reverted to a trio. The Pointer sisters are also survived by two brothers, Fritz and Aaron.
Anita was predeceased by her daughter Jada, who died in 2003, shortly after Anita took over the care of her granddaughter, Roxie McKain Pointer.
“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.
“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,” the family said in a statement.
The sisters grew up singing in the church of their father, a preacher in Oakland, California. Their debut album in 1973 produced their first hit single “Yes We Can Can.”
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Among their bigger hits were “Fire” in 1978, “He’s So Shy” in 1980, “Slow Hand” in 1981, and “Neutron Dance,” “Automatic” and “Jump” in 1983. “I’m So Excited” from 1982 remains a standard.
The group has continued to perform in recent years, with Ruth singing alongside her daughter Issa and granddaughter Sadako.