On Christmas Eve, December 24th, 69-year-old Myrna Smith died in a hospital in Los Angeles. The singer was one of the original members of the Sweet Inspirations, who in the seventies served as background singers for Elvis Presley.
In 1965, Myrna Smith joined the Sweet Inspirations, founded by Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney Houston and sister of Dionne Warwick. In 1967 they recorded background vocals for the Van Morrison hit "Brown Eyed Girl".
In 1968 they had a #5 U.S. R&B and #18 U.S. Pop hit with "Sweet Inspiration", which led to Elvis Presley requesting them to join him in his live comeback shows.
In the 1970s onward, Smith made a career for herself as a songwriter. She worked with, among others, ex-Beach Boy Carl Wilson. In 2010 she toured with "Elvis: In Concert" in Europe. The show reunited former Elvis band mates live on stage with a state of the art video-projected Elvis.
In March 2010, while on tour, Myrna developed pneumonia. Once back in the U.S., her condition continued to deteriorate, as she suffered kidney failure, further complicated by a severe stroke. She was confined to her bed since October.