Singer-songwriter Carly Simon revealed that she lost both of her older sisters to cancer just one day apart. Joanna Simon, 85, died of thyroid cancer on October 19, and Lucy Simon, 82, died of metastatic breast cancer on October 20.
Carly, 75, best known for her 1972 hit “You’re So Vain,” told People in a statement that she is “filled with sorrow to speak about the passing of Joanna and Lucy Simon.”
"As sad as this day is, it’s impossible to mourn them without celebrating their incredible lives that they lived,” she continued. “We were three sisters who not only took turns blazing trails and marking courses for one another, we were each other’s secret shares. The co-keepers of each other’s memories.”
The sisters created music together and had successful solo careers in various genres and fields, including folk, opera, children’s music and theater. Their father, Richard, was a cofounder of the publishing giant Simon & Schuster.
Carly and Lucy formed the folk music duo the Simon Sisters in the 1960s and released songs such as “Winkin’ Blinkin’ & Nod” until Lucy stepped away to attend nursing school. Lucy married David Levine in 1967.
Lucy went on to produce two Grammy-winning children’s albums with Levine: In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record (1981) and Harmony 2 (1983). In 1991, with The Secret Garden, Lucy became the third female composer ever to have a production on Broadway. The effort earned her a Tony nomination.
Joanna set out on a different musical path and became an opera singer. In 1962, Joanna made her debut in The Marriage of Figaro at the New York City Opera. In 1992, she pivoted to television and became an Emmy-winning arts correspondent for PBS NewsHour.
Carly’s brother, Peter Simon, a celebrater photographer, died in 2018 of cardiac arrest after battling lung cancer for some time. “I have no words to explain the feeling of suddenly being the only remaining direct offspring of Richard and Andrea Simon,” Simon said.
In a CBS Evening News segment, Carly shared that her sisters "touched everyone they knew and those of us they’ve left behind will be lucky and honored to carry their memories forward.” (Watch the clip at the top of this article or on YouTube.)
To learn more about these specific cancers, read Cancer Health’s Breast Cancer, Thyroid Cancer and Lung Cancer Basics.