After a long and highly publicized battle with cancer, Jessi Zazu, lead singer of Those Darlins, has passed away. The country singer was only 28, and passed at Centennial Hospital in Nashville, surrounded by friends and family. “Yesterday I said goodbye to my best friend, longtime partner in crime and hero, Jessi Zazu Wariner,” Those Darlins drummer Linwood Regensburg said in a statement. “She maintained a sense of humor and a commanding presence up until and through her final moments. She was in the company of those who cared deeply about her and who she cared deeply about.”
The red “Ain’t Afraid” shirts seen in the video were sold to cover medical expenses, and gained Zuzu over $50,000.
Zazu garnered acclaim for her work with Those Darlins, whose unique blend of country and garage amassed a loyal fan base since their debut work in 2008. The band split and got back together a few times, eventually re-uniting for a farewell tour in 2016. Just weeks after, Zazu was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Though, she by no means let this stop her.
Just as in the rest of her life, Jessi was involved in social activism and helping her community until the very end. Recently, she has set up the “Ain’t Afraid Scholarship” at the Southern Girls Rock and Roll Camp. “”Attending these camps as a young person really gave me the tools I needed to blossom creatively in safe and encouraging environments. After attending camp for 4 years and volunteering for the last 11 years, it’s something near and dear to my heart…Every year I meet more and more young kids who are so thoughtful, caring, considerate, aware and full of so much enthusiasm for the future.”
Just last month, Zazu contributed art for a Radiation Oncology suite. Zazu created the artwork during her time as a cancer patient at VICC and donated prints as a gift to the staffers and other patients. “I wanted it to be something that was inspiring to people because I looked around in the waiting rooms and I could see there were a lot of people who looked like they were having a hard time.” Diandra Ayala-Peacock, M.D., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, devised and managed Zazu’s radiation therapy, and had nothing but good to say. “We are all so amazed by Jessi’s art and grateful for the warmth and support it provides for our patients.”
Photo Credit: Marv Watson