Minnie Julia Riperton-Rudolph
 (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979),
 known professionally as Minnie Riperton, was an American singer-songwriter best known for her 1975 single "
Lovin' You" and her five-octave
 She is also widely known for her use of the whistle register and has been referred to by the media as the "Queen of the whistle register". Born in 1947, Riperton grew up in
Bronzeville neighborhood on the
South Side. As a child, she studied music, drama and dance at Chicago's Lincoln Center. In her teen years, she sang lead vocals for the Chicago-based girl group The Gems. Her early affiliation with the legendary Chicago-based
Chess Records afforded her the opportunity to sing backup for various established artists such as
Chuck Berry and
Muddy Waters. While at Chess, Riperton also sang lead for the
experimental rock/soul group
Rotary Connection, from 1967 to 1971.
On April 5, 1975, Riperton reached the apex of her career with her No. 1 single, "Lovin' You". The single was the last release from her 1974 gold album entitled
Perfect Angel. In January 1976, Riperton was diagnosed with
breast cancer and underwent a
 By the time of
diagnosis, the cancer had
metastasized and she was given about six months to live. Despite the grim
prognosis, she continued recording and touring. She was one of the first celebrities to go public with her breast cancer diagnosis but did not disclose she was
terminally ill. In 1977, she became a spokesperson for the
American Cancer Society. In 1978, she received the American Cancer Society's Courage Award which was presented to her at the White House by President
Jimmy Carter. Riperton died of cancer on July 12, 1979 at age 31.