Candye Kane dies at 54; performer sang of self-acceptance even while battling cancer – By George Varga – Los Angeles – Candye Kane, an L.A.-raised blues, swing and roots-rock performer who preached self-acceptance and whose song “The Toughest Girl Alive” gained new meaning as she performed for years with cancer, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She had been ill with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer for about eight years. She was 54.

Dubbed an “East L.A. white homegirl” by The Times in the 1980s, Kane had been a high school dropout and phone-sex operator before emerging as a musician and recording more than a dozen albums. Her music earned an international following and championed LGBT people and others.

She cited Patsy Cline as an inspiration, and touted the universal appeal of what she called “the old twangy stuff” over newer, more polished versions of country music. A Times critic in 1990 compared her voice to Loretta Lynn’s.

Despite advancing cancer, Kane returned to the concert stage again and again, sometimes from her hospital bed. Her final performance was a New Year’s Eve show at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. Her most recent U.S. tour was in December.