Canada’s music community is in mourning today after Rankin Family member Raylene Rankin succumbed to cancer at the age of 52.
According to a CBC News report, the Cape Breton-born, Celtic-country star was in her third battle with cancer, after first being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. It was discovered again in 2009, and then in 2011 the cancer spread to her liver and Rankin underwent aggressive chemotherapy.
“I'm scared a lot and just [as] it seems when you get to a place where you're not afraid then you're given a reason to be afraid again,” Rankin told the CBC in June.
“But it's something that I'm working through. I'm reading one of these books that [is] about not having a fear of death, which is the ultimate fear, I guess.”
Rankin joined the Rankin Family band in 1989 and, over their 10 years together, the group sold more than two million records, won six Juno Awards, three Canadian Country Music Awards and 15 East Coast Music Awards. In 2000, the band’s John Morris Rankin died in an accident when he drove his truck over a cliff and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The surviving members reunited in 2007, releasing two LPs and touring before adoring audiences. Raylene released All the Diamonds in 2012, her first solo album in seven years.
“The Rankin Family went out on tour in January [and] I wasn't able to go because I was in the middle of chemo,” Raylene told the CBC. "When Cookie and Heather came to visit me just before they were flying out the next day and I cried, I bawled like a baby and I felt like I was letting them down by not being there for them.”
Raylene is survived by her husband, Colin Anderson and son, Alexander.
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