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At the peak of her performing career, Denise Katrina Matthew’s unbridled sexuality drew comparisons to Tina Turner, but she abandoned it all to achieve tranquility as a born-again evangelist.

Matthews, better known by her stage name “Vanity,” died on Monday at the age of 57 in Fremont, Calif., after checking into a hospital over the weekend for complications due to kidney failure.

Born on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Jan., 1959, Matthews’ abusive-dysfunctional family situation informed the rest of her life, as did her striking looks derived from her African-European-Hawaiian-Native American ancestry. But physical attractiveness proved to be a mixed blessing in those racially restricted times, as childhood friends recalled she drew scores of suitors eager to date her, albeit covertly.

None the less, her beauty opened doors to an acting and modeling career in Toronto, then in California.

At the American Music Awards in 1980, she happened upon a diminutive musician with outsized talent on the verge of stardom. Prince Rogers Nelson, aka Prince, saw in Matthews a diamond in the rough, and after discarding his original brand name “Vagina,” settled on the handle Vanity. In due course, she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with her new paramour/Svengali, shot by celebrity photographer Richard Avedon with her hand strategically tucked into the waistband of his pants.

As the front person of Vanity 6 (Prince originally wanted to call them “The Hookers”), Matthews and band mates Brenda Bennett and Susan Moonsie belted out provocative titles like “Drive Me Wild,” “Sex Shooter,” and their biggest hit “Nasty Girl,” while dressed in alluring undergarments, years before Madonna built a career wearing similar attire.

Prince intended to cast Matthews in his 1984 film debut, “Purple Rain,” but the couple’s break up and her departure from Vanity 6 led to Apollionia Kotero taking over the role as his romantic lead.

Meanwhile, Matthews went on to a moderately successful singing career with A&M, Geffen, and Motown Records, along with appearances in movies like “52 Pick-Up,” “Action Jackson,” “The Last Dragon,” and “Never Too Young to Die” when she had a brief affair with actor John Stamos.

She was also linked to rock stars Adam Ant, Billy Idol, and Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe, who chronicled their narcotics abuse in his autobiography. In 1995, she briefly married NFL defensive end Anthony Smith (who was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences last month on murder charges).

Her questionable taste in relationships mirrored a hedonistic lifestyle, that included crack cocaine abuse which took its toil on Matthews physically. This included losing a kidney in 1987, and an overdose coupled with complete renal failure (the inability to remove waste from the blood) in 1994. This led her to renounce her performing name and persona, and embrace Jesus Christ, which she documented in her 1999 autobiography, “Blame it on Vanity.”

Matthews later remembered the three days she spent in the hospital on life support as “… the best thing that happened to me.”

The specter of a misspent youth haunted her as she set up a ministry in the Bay area city of Fremont, and required her to undergo dialysis five times a day to remove the impurities her body could not expunge on its own. With mounting medical expenses draining her resources, Matthews started a Go Fund Me page on the Internet where she expressed sorrow for her misdeeds: “I repent daily my sins, my faults and my shortcomings. He has brought me out of so many fires, oh so many; 23 years alive after the doctors pronounced I would be dead way back in 1992.”

Notified of the demise of his paramour/protégé during a concert in Melbourne, Australia, Prince performed a medley of songs dedicated to Matthews. Addressing the sold-out crowd, he offered the soliloquy: “She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be.”