Marvin Gaye's Second Wife Janis Hunter Has Died

Janis Hunter, the second wife of Motown icon Marvin Gaye, died Dec. 3 at her Rhode Island home. She was 66 years old. In addition to her sister, Shawnn Monteiro, and brother, Mark Gaillard, she is survived by her children, Nona and Frankie, and grandson, Nolan Pentz. Nona Gaye released a statement, saying, via DiscoverMusic, "I am deeply saddened by the passing of my mother, Janis Gaye. 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. Every word from her mouth was from her soul. She never said anything she didn't mean. I know her drive and influence from the time she was 17 until the day she died was all about her family and family that extended beyond blood – brothers, sisters in every part of this beautiful and painful planet. Every day she was here, it was about the love she felt for her husband, children, grandson, and the friends she met all over the world.

"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. 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. "From the first memory of my grandmother, I knew then and now how much she cared about her family and the warmth she gave to all of us. I will always be grateful for all the memories. She also cared about so many people in the world, and I will do everything I can to put into action the things she wanted and help continue the Gaye legacy," added grandson Nolan Pentz. 

Moreover, Nona Gaye remarked, "my mom was immensely proud of her grandson, Nolan, and how he stepped up as a young man, like a soldier, to help the family and lend support in times of need." A stylist, manager, and author, Hunter was born on Jan. 6, 1956, to Barbara Hunter and Slim Gaillard. Gaye would meet her during the recording session for "Let's Get It On," according to DiscoverMusic. She became the subject of several of his songs, including Gaye's song "Jan," which he wrote and recorded for his 1974 hit Motown album, Live! while making her the theme of the 1976 No. 1 album, I Want You. Hunter was also featured on the background vocals for Gaye's 1977 hit single, "Got To Give It Up."