Janis Hunter Gaye, wife of Marvin Gaye, has died, aged 66.
Hunter Gaye died at her home in Rhode Island on Saturday (3 December), her family have confirmed.
A cause of death has not been revealed.
Hunter Gaye’s daughter Nona – who is also an actor and singer – shared a tribute to her late mother, writing: “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.”
The statement continued: “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.”
They met in 1973 during a recording session in Los Angeles for his album Let’s Get It On, which was released later that year. Gaye wrote his 1974 song “Jan” in tribute to her.
Hunter Gaye married the “Sexual Healing” singer in 1977. She was 21, and he was 38.
They divorced three years later in 1981. In 1984, Gaye died aged 44 when he was shot and killed by his father.
Hunter Gaye went on to manage her daughter’s career in music and acting, which has included roles in films such as Ali and Crash.
In 2015, Hunter Gaye released a book titled After the Dance: My Life with Marvin Gaye, in which she alleged that her relationship with the Motown legend was often turbulent and violent.
A public memorial service will be held to celebrate her life. Donations can be made in her memory to charities including Arms Around the Child, Breathe With Me Revolution, and Fund a Mom.
Hunter Gaye is survived by her daughter Nona, son Frankie, sister Shawnn, brother Mark, and grandson Nolan.