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Vixen Guitarist Jan Kuehnemund Dies at 51

Vixen
Jay West, WireImage

Very sad news to report, as founding Vixen guitarist Jan Kuehnemund passed away from cancer at the age of 51 on Thursday, Oct. 10.

Kuehnemund formed the all-girl band Vixen in 1980 when she was still in high school, showing off her rock prowess at an early age. The band was signed to EMI in 1988 and released their platinum selling debut self-titled disc that same year. ‘Vixen’ spawned two smash hit singles, with ‘Edge of a Broken Heart’ and ‘Cryin’ making them a force to be reckoned with in the male-dominated industry. The band would go on to release two more studio albums during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Vixen posted the following message on their Facebook page revealing the sad news and the cause of Kuehnemund’s death:

It is with profound sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Vixen founder and lead guitarist, Jan Kuehnemund, who lost a fierce battle with cancer on Thursday, October 10, 2013. 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.”

Vixen called it quits in 1991 but have reunited in several forms throughout the years. The latest lineup featuring Kuehnemund released ‘Live in Sweden’ in 2009. The other remaining members from the classic lineup (minus Kuehnemund) are currently playing under the name JSRG (featuring Janet Gardner on vocals, Share Gardner on bass and Roxy Petrucci on drums).

The members of JSRG also posted a statement regarding Kuehnemund’s passing:

On behalf of JSRG which includes the three original members of Vixen, Janet Gardner, Share Ross, Roxy Petrucci along with Gina Stile are heartbroken to announce the sudden passing of Vixen founder and lead guitarist, Jan Kuehnemund who lost a valiant battle with cancer on Thursday, October 10, 2013.

Much more than simply a brilliant guitarist and amazing songwriter, Jan was one of the kindest souls you could ever hope to meet. She remembered everyone’s birthdays and special occasions with gifts and was one of the most gracious women on the planet.

Through her year long battle with cancer, Jan was very courageous. She never complained and never gave up. The cancer beat her body but it never broke her spirit at any moment.

For those of you who wondered why Vixen never reunited, we actually did reunite.

We had resolved our differences and were whole heartedly looking forward to playing together again.

In January, 2013 only days before the announcement was to be made public, Jan was given her cancer diagnosis. She requested that we keep her illness private and out of respect for her wishes when press and fans asked us why we were not back together, we replied “it’s a matter of timing.”

Since then we’ve been in regular contact with her and offered our loving support while continually hoping to make 2014 the year of Vixen.

However, it was not meant to be.

Our condolences go out to her family. Memorial services will be announced at a later date.

Jan, you will be missed. But never forgotten.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

 

The staff at Loudwire would like to extend our sincere condolences to all of Kuehnemund’s family, friends and fans throughout the world.

RIP: Rockers We've Lost in 2013

Watch Vixen’s Video For ‘Edge of a Broken Heart’

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