Davis helped the infamous band rise to fame by providing vocals for their hit debut album.

By Andrea Towers
May 27, 2021 at 09:10 AM EDT
John Davis
John Davis singing with Milli Vanilli
| Credit: Nico Schimmelpfennig/picture alliance via Getty Images

John Davis, one of the true vocal talents behind the legendary band Milli Vanilli, died on May 24 from COVID-19. He was 66.

Davis' daughter Jasmin confirmed the news with a post on her dad's official Facebook on May 24, sharing a video of one of his personal performances. "He made a lot of people happy with his laughter and smile, his happy spirit, love and especially through his music. He gave so much to the world! Please give him the last round of applause. We will miss him dearly," she wrote.

A GoFundMe, which Jasmin also shared on Facebook in the days after his passing, has been started for Davis' family to help with funeral expenses and give him "one last performance, with people he loved and got love from."

The German-French band, created by music producer Frank Farian, was fronted by Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus. The two singers brought the band to fame with their 1989 debut album "Girl You Know It's True" which sold 11 million copies and earned the group a Grammy award for Best New Artist in 1990. The band's fame took a turn, however, when it was revealed that Morvan and Pilatus falsely took credit for the vocals that Davis and other vocalists — who were only listed as backup singers — provided on the album.

After the band's fallout, Davis formed The Real Milli Vanilli along with one of the album's other original singers, Brad Howell. Farian helped the duo produce one album (1991's "The Moment of Truth") as well as three singles including "Keep on Running," which landed at number four on the German charts.

The official Milli Vanilli account tweeted their respects to Davis, writing "RIP John. We couldn't be who we are without you."

Davis was originally born in South Carolina but moved to Germany, where he found his success with Milli Vanilli. He continued to perform with Morvan over the years.

"Thanks for all the love you've spread throughout the years, from the edge of the stage," Morvan tweeted in tribute of his friend and bandmate, sharing a photo of the two with the Milli Vanilli song "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" playing over it. "You and I had a great run, it was fun to celebrate life with the help of music."

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