MODESTO >> Monica Parker, the exuberant longtime Santa Cruz blues/gospel singer known internationally by her stage name “Sista Monica,” died Thursday in Modesto. She was 58.
The former U.S. Marine and longtime tech-industry recruiter had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in July. In 2003, she had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma and was, at that time, told she had three months to live.
At the time of her first diagnosis, Parker was at the height of her career as a performer specializing in Chicago blues and Southern African-American gospel. Her burgeoning popularity in blues festivals up and down the West Coast had led to success across the country and, indeed, into Europe where she had traveled and performed widely. She had, in fact, just returned from a 21-city tour of Europe when she was diagnosed with cancer the first time.