Cynthia Robinson, Sly and the Family Stone’s Trumpeter, Dies at 69

Cynthia Robinson, trumpeter and co-founder of psychedelic soul band Sly and the Family Stone, died of cancer on Monday, according to the musician’s Facebook page. She was 69.

As a trumpet player and vocalist, Robinson played with Sly and the Family Stone until the band’s dissolution in 1975, but continued to collaborate with its lead musician, Sly Stone, on occasion following the break-up.  The band carries the legacy as one of the first inter-gender, interracial musical groups to promote messages of social awareness.

Robinson’s role in Sly and the Family Stone eventually earned her recognition as one of the first black female trumpet players in popular music and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making her the only female trumpeter to receive such distinction.

Robinson made contributions to the musical world for nearly 50 years. In most recent years, she performed on stages across the U.S. and Europe, playing with the likes of Prince, George Clinton and Larry Graham. In 2006, Robinson joined original band members and special guest performers in a Sly and the Family Stone tribute at the 48th Grammy Awards.

Her cancer diagnosis was announced in October.

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