Kevin Sharp died at age 43, from complications with past stomach surgeries and digestive problems. The country singer was also a motivational speaker and spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Sharp grew up in California and had a love of sports and music. He played football and basketball in high school, but then developed pain in his left leg. According to Sharp’s mother Elaine Sharp, her son was diagnosed with cancer in 1989, which turned out to be the cause of his pain. It was a bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. After two years of experimental treatment the cancer went into remission, but the effects of chemotherapy and radiation would cause problems for him later in life.
In a story for Guideposts magazine in 2006, Sharp explained how he became involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sharp was introduced to producer David Foster through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A woman came to him after he’d been in treatment for four months. She told him that she was from the foundation and said “We’d like to fulfill a wish of yours.” She also told him that they would do whatever they could to make his dream possible. Sharp gave her David Foster’s name, the producer of his favorite band, Chicago. Months after beginning his work with Foster, he was told that his cancer was in remission.
Although Kevin Sharp did not survive past the age of 43, at a young age, he already knew what it was like to think that he was going to die. Sharp had already learned what it felt like to come back from the brink of death. “If there is one thing that might be more shocking than hearing a death sentence, it’s hearing that death sentence lifted,” Sharp expressed.
Sharp continued working with Foster when he was well, and landed a record deal with Asylum Records in Nashville. He released the single Nobody Knows in 1995, which made its way to the top of the Billboard country charts, and was there for a month. He gained fame from his debut album Measure of a Man. The album reached gold status. Other singles released from the album were If You Love Somebody and She’s Sure Taking It Well. Sharp received a nomination by the Academy of Country Music for best new male vocalist. In 1997 he received an award from the Make-A-Wish Foundation that named him “wish granter of the year”. He released two more albums, one called Love Is in 1998, and the other called Make A Wish in 2005. In 2004, Sharp wrote a book about his battle with cancer called Tragedy’s Gift.
Sharp had emergency surgeries in 1998 and 2008, as he struggled with his health. He shared his story through his book with cancer patients, concerts, and public speaking events. His health saw a sharp decline in 2011, when he had to undergo several surgeries for leg infections. In 2012, Sharp spoke about the importance of performing and public speaking in his life. “It keeps me going emotionally,” he said.
Sharp died at the young age of 43, in his mother’s home in Fair Oaks, California on Saturday night. His mother, and sister Mary Huston are glad that he is no longer suffering. “He had a strong heart” his mother said. “His dream came true through music” Huston said of her brother.
By Twanna Harps