Skip to main content

Country singer Kevin Sharp dies

By Dave Alsup and Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • His mother says Kevin Sharp died from "complications due to cancer"
  • "He's not hurting anymore," she says
  • A memorial service is being planned in Nashville

Go to CNN iReport to share your memories of the singer.

(CNN) -- Country singer Kevin Sharp, best known for his hit "Nobody Knows," has died from "complications due to cancer," his mother said. He was 43.

Sharp was diagnosed with cancer as a teenager. He was treated, and the disease did not reoccur, but he had problems later in life because of the radiation and chemotherapy he underwent, Elaine Sharp said.

Click through to see people who passed away in 2014. Click through to see people who passed away in 2014.
People we lost in 2014
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2014 Photos: People we lost in 2014

She said her son died Saturday night at her home in Fair Oaks, California.

"He had a good, strong heart," she said. "He's not hurting anymore."

His website added that he died "due to ongoing complications from past stomach surgeries and digestive issues."

Sharp grew up wanting to be a singer. According to a 1998 story from Music City News, Sharp -- who grew up in a large family that included a number of foster children -- was a high school athlete and participated in a Sacramento, California, light-opera company.

It was during his senior year in high school that he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer that had spread to his lungs. The ailment led to Sharp meeting producer and songwriter David Foster through the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Foster, known for his work with such artists as Celine Dion and Michael Buble, helped support Sharp through years of chemotherapy and a determination to wean himself from painkillers after the cancer went into remission.

In the mid-'90s, after working at an amusement park to make ends meet, Sharp landed a record deal and went to No. 1 on the country charts with "Nobody Knows." He followed that hit with a handful of others, including "She's Sure Taking It Well" and "If You Love Somebody."

The early success, he said, was "like learning how to swim by somebody throwing you into the deep end of the swimming pool," he told Country Weekly in 2012.

But he didn't forget the Make-a-Wish Foundation through his own highs and lows, becoming a representative and getting a tattoo of the organization's logo on his chest.

In later years, he traveled the country as a motivational speaker, according to his website, and wrote a book called "Tragedy's Gift."

His willingness to help others kept hope alive in himself, he told Country Weekly.

"If I didn't believe what I try to express and tell others, I wouldn't be here," he said.

Singers and industry insiders expressed their condolences on Twitter.

"Sorry to hear of the passing of Kevin Sharp," wrote Mark Wills.

"My fellow country artist Kevin Sharp passed away last night and went to spend Easter with Jesus. My prayers to the family," tweeted Billy Dean.

Sharp's website asked people who want to make a donation in his memory to give to their local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

A memorial service is being planned in Nashville. Details were not immediately available.

People we've lost in 2014

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Sun September 28, 2014
Former U.S. Rep. James Traficant of Ohio died after suffering injuries in an earlier accident on his farm.
updated 11:36 AM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Eric "The Actor" Lynch, who became a celebrity among celebrities by calling in to Howard Stern's radio show, died at age 39.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Sun September 21, 2014
Emmy-winning actress Polly Bergen, whose TV and movie career spanned more than six decades, has died at age 84.
updated 5:01 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Singer George Hamilton IV died at a Nashville hospital following a heart attack. He was 77.
updated 11:30 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Northern Ireland's former first minister and former Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley has died. He was 88.
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Richard Kiel, the actor best known for playing the James Bond villain "Jaws," died at age 74 in a California hospital.
updated 4:56 PM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Actress Molly Glynn, who played an emergency room doctor on several "Chicago Fire" episodes, died from injuries after a tree fell on her during a storm.
S. Truett Cathy, the fast-food entrepreneur who turned a single restaurant into the multibillion-dollar Chick-fil-A empire, has died at age 93.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Sat September 6, 2014
Simone Battle, an "X Factor" finalist and G.R.L. singer, was found dead in a Los Angeles home, a coroner's spokesman said. She was 25.
updated 10:26 PM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
Joan Rivers, the sassy comedian whose gossipy "can we talk" persona catapulted her into a career as a talk-show host, author and red-carpet maven, has died.
updated 8:46 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Jimi Jamison, who belted out the hits "The Search is Over" and "Burning Heart" for 1980s rock band Survivor, has died. He was 63.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
CNN lost a much loved and respected colleague with the sudden passing of photojournalist Sarmad Qaseera.
updated 3:54 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Acclaimed actor-director Richard Attenborough has died at 90, the actor's agent said.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Sun August 24, 2014
The founder of the University of Phoenix, Dr. John G. Sperling, has died. He was 93.
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Don Pardo, the announcer whose velvety baritone voice introduced "Saturday Night Live" hosts on NBC for decades, has died at age 96.
ADVERTISEMENT