Jessi Zazu, the singer and guitarist of the Nashville-based band Those Darlins, has died after a battle with cervical cancer. She was 28.
The Tennessean reports she died surrounded by family, friends and fellow musicians who lined the waiting room at Centennial Hospital’s intensive care unit.
Zazu is survived by her mother Kathy Wariner, her father David Wariner and her brothers Emmett Wariner and Oakley Wariner.
The niece of country musician Steve Wariner learned she had cervical cancer when she was 26 after she couldn’t stop bleeding. It was caused by a strain of human papillomavirus, according to the Nashville Scene.
She started brachytherapy, but later discovered a lymph node in her neck. Biopsy results showed it was positive for the same type of cancer cell originally found in her cervix.
Those Darlins — a group comprised of Zazu, Nikki Kvarnes and Linwood Regensburg — released three albums between 2009 and 2013. They broke up in 2016, shortly before Zazu was diagnosed.
The singer adapted a song title, “Ain’t Afraid,” from the band’s final album as her mantra throughout her health battle. She designed t-shirts with the saying, sales of which helped raise over $50,000 toward her medical bills.
“I don’t feel very much fear at all, honestly,” she said in the video explaining her diagnosis in which she shaves her head in preparation for chemotherapy treatments. “I feel very good and feel like I am going to live. And even if I don’t live, then I wasn’t supposed to live. And I just want everyone to know that I am a fighter and I never will give up.”