Anyone well-versed in ’80s and ’90s R&B/soul is likely familiar with the song “Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)” by the Grammy Award-winning group Soul II Soul. According to her daughter and X Factor star Alexandra Burke, former lead singer Melissa Bell has passed away at the age of 53. Burke took to Twitter to share the news.
“It is with the heaviest and saddest of hearts that the family inform you our beautiful, funny and loving mum, Melissa Bell has passed away,” Burke wrote. “Our beautiful mother gained her wings on 28th August 2017, a day that has changed our lives forever.
“We will never forget her unconditional love, support, charisma, strength and courage throughout her life,” she continued. “We are eternally proud & thankful to call her our mummy. We would be grateful if you could respect our privacy at this difficult time. Thank you. The Burke Family.”
The London-born singer was a member of Soul II Soul from 1993 to 1995, after the group had already attained commercial success with 1989’s “Back To Life (However Do You Want Me).” She sang on Soul II Soul’s hit tracks “Wish” and “Be A Man,” but officially left the group to pursue a solo career and eventually formed another band called Soul Explosion.
Members of the current incarnation of Soul II Soul also took to Twitter to express their condolences, writing, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Melissa Bell, she was an important part of the collective and will be sadly missed.”
A 2008 report from The Islington Tribune said she suffered from kidney disease and regularly needed dialysis.