Jan Kuehnemund, a founding member of the all-woman rock group Vixen, died this week at age 51.
The St. Paul, Minnesota, native actually formed the glam rock ban when she was in high school, connecting with friend and lead singer Janet Gardner.
The group moved to Los Angeles in 1985 to try to hit the big time, and within two years they added Roxy Petrucci on drums and Share Pedersen on bass.
The band found success in 1988 with their self-titled album, with two hit singles in “Cryin'” an “Edge of a Broken Heart” that earned heavy rotation on MTV. Vixen followed up the success in 1990 with the album Rev It Up, with two hit singles in “Love Is A Killer” and “How Much Love.”
Vixen dissolved as the glam rock era gave way to the grunge movement of the early 1990s, but reformed with Jan Kuehnemund returning in 2001. They also appeared on VH1’s Bands Reunited in 2004, but the members soon split again.
Jan Kuehnemund continued on with the Vixen name and a new lineup, while the other members started their own group known as JanetShareRoxyGina.
This week Vixen released a statement on its website praising Kuennemund for her strength as she battled cancer:
“Though most well known for her gifted guitar playing and other musical talents, Jan was a rare friend and beautiful in every sense of the word. Humble, thoughtful, loyal and kind, she was the most gracious of women, possessing the quiet strength of a true warrior. She genuinely loved and appreciated her friends and fans more than most could ever know. Those who were most fortunate to have known her and loved her are heartbroken at the loss of Jan, whose spirit will shine through her music eternally.
“Jan was very courageous. Never complained. Never gave up. The cancer beat her body but it NEVER broke her spirit at any point. Up until the actual moment that she died, she really believed she was going back home.
“Jan… you will be missed.. but never forgotten.”
Reports did not say what type of cancer Jan Kuehnemund had. She was 51.