SYDNEY — Cape Breton’s musical community is mourning the death of one its most recognizable voices, with word that Raylene Rankin lost her battle with cancer in Halifax Sunday morning.
Raylene Rankin, right, shown with siblings Heather, Cookie and Jimmy of The Rankin Family, lost her battle with cancer Sunday morning. She was first diagnosed in 2001, with the cancer subsequently returning in 2009 and 2011.
Rankin along with four of her siblings — John Morris, Jimmy, Cookie and Heather — formed the Rankin Family, going from the small Inverness County community of Mabou to national and international prominence for their blend of traditional Cape Breton and Gaelic tunes and contemporary compositions.
John Morris died in 2000 as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
Rankin also had a solo career, most recently releasing the album “All the Diamonds.”
Following her diagnosis, Rankin, who acquaintances describe as a shy person offstage, spoke out about her battle with the disease, stressing the importance of women self-examining their breasts and early detection of the disease.
Rankin was first diagnosed in 2001. Cancer subsequently returned in 2009 and 2011.
She is survived by her husband and son.