Make-A-Wish

04.21.14

Country Music Singer Kevin Sharp Dead at 43

After a publicized battle with cancer.

It was a sad Easter weekend in the world of country music.  Country singer Kevin Sharp passed away at his mother’s California home on Saturday. After a long-running and high-profile battle with cancer, he died from complications from surgery. He was 43. 

After two years of chemotherapy and radiation, the after-effects of the treatment—such as stomach surgery, digestive issues, and residual issues—had been bothering the singer.  The post-cancer difficulties had left him hospitalized for ten weeks, and he came home on Good Friday.  The news had been posted on Sharp’s website

Sharp was born in Redding, California, in 1970.  He grew up in Weiser, Idaho, with seven other musical siblings, who sang together at local church functions. During his senior year of high school, he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.  It started out with him experiencing a pain in his left leg, and he would have to sit out from sport events at his school. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Sharp was able to meet music producer David Foster and together, they worked on a demo tape, which eventually led to his signing a record deal with Asylum Records in Nashville.

Of the Make-A-Wish Foundation children, he is the only person to have everything come full circle for him.  Meaning, he is the “only wish child to become the wish request of other wish kids,” a true inspiration to all involved with the foundation.  (Sharp toured the United States as a motivational speaker, an advocate for children with chronic diseases, and a spokesman for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.)

Sharp’s claim-to-fame was his 1996 single, a cover of Tony Rich’s “Nobody Knows,” part of his debut album Measure of a Man.  It reached No. 1 in 1996.  The album was also certified gold. The other albums he released were Love in 1998 and Make a Wish in 2005.  He also received many nominations for his work, including the Academy of Country Music’s award for New Male Vocalist, and Billboard Magazine’s Best New Country Video.

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When doctors told Sharp that he beat cancer, he said, “If there is one thing that might be more shocking than hearing a death sentence, it's hearing that death sentence lifted...Finding your way back into life after being taken out of it for so long is harder than you might imagine."

In 2004 he published Tragedy’s Gift, about fighting cancer.  “No matter if it's cancer or the most common terminal disease we simply refer to as 'life,' I hope you will see a little of yourself within my stories and words. Through my hopes, dreams, and trials, it's my prayer that you, too, will find the hope, faith, love, and strength to survive. You are not alone."