John Davis, a vocalist for pop group Milli Vanilli, has died at the age of 66. His daughter, Jasmin Davis, shared the news on Facebook and confirmed to CNN that her father lost his battle with COVID-19.
“This is Jasmin, John’s daughter. Unfortunately, my dad passed away this evening through the coronavirus,” she wrote. “He made a lot of people happy with his laughter and smile, his happy spirit, love and especially through his music. He gave so much to the world! Please give him the last round of applause. We will miss him dearly.”
Davis is best known for providing the actual vocals fronted by German-French pop group Milli Vanilli. The group rose to fame in the late 1980s with hits such as “Girl You Know It’s True,” “Blame It On The Rain” and “Babe Don’t Forget My Number” after their debut album was released in the United States in 1989. The group won the 1990 Grammy award for Best New Artist.
However, once it was revealed that group members Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan were not actually singing, and Davis and other talent provided the actual vocals, Milli Vanilli was forced to return the award. After the scandal, music producer Frank Farian revamped the group for a sophomore album. In 1991, they released The Moment Of Truth as The Real Milli Vanilli with Davis and other singers and band members featured on the album cover.
Pilatus and Morvan attempted a second comeback, recording an album in 1998, however, Pilatus’s death halted any progress. Morvan shared a heartfelt message for Davis on Twitter after learning of his former groupmate’s passing.
“R.I.P brother @johndavisrmv Can’t believe it, thanks for all the love you’ve spread through out the years, from the edge of the stage. You and I had a great run, it was fun to celebrate life with the help of music. Peace one love Your voice will live on. Play it loud everybody,” he tweeted.
R.I.P BROTHER @JohnDavisRMV
CAN’T BELIEVE IT, THANKS FOR ALL THE LOVE YOU’VE SPREAD THROUGH OUT THE YEARS, FROM THE EDGE OF THE STAGE. YOU AND I HAD A GREAT RUN, IT WAS FUN TO CELEBRATE LIFE WITH THE HELP OF MUSIC. PEACE ONE LOVE
YOUR VOICE WILL LIVE ON. PLAY IT LOUD EVERYBODY. pic.twitter.com/tlvSEiYoS4
— Fab Morvan (@fabmorvan) May 24, 2021
Davis’s daughter has launched a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of her father with a goal of €13,500, or just over $16,000.
“We are deeply saddened by his passing and will miss him dearly, especially smile and laughter,” reads the campaign’s landing page. “Through corona, a funeral is even more expensive and for us not alone manageable. But we would like to help him to have one last performance, with people he loved and got loved from. The grand finale! We would appreciate it very much if you could kindly help us with a donation. We thank you so much in advance.”
John Davis, an Anderson, South Carolina native, moved to Germany in adulthood. Beyond his musical career with Milli Vanilli, he was a composer and musician who played and sang for the likes of Babyface and Luther Vandross and performed as a solo artist around the world.
Watch Davis’s 2016 performance of “Girl You Know It’s True” alongside Morvan in Berlin.