Jessi Zazu of Those Darlins Dies at 28

Music Community Mourns the Loss of Nashville Rocker

The music community is mourning the loss of Nashville musician and visual artist Jessi “Zazu” Wariner.

Zazu, who is Steve Wariner’s niece and the co-founder of the local rockabilly and garage rock band Those Darlins, died on Tuesday (Sept. 12) after a battle with cancer. She was 28.

According to the Tennessean, Zazu was surrounded by family, friends and fellow musicians who lined the waiting room inside Centennial Hospital’s intensive care unit when she died.

Those Darlins played an integral part in Nashville’s music evolution for a decade before its farewell tour in winter 2016. The band’s final album Blur the Line was released in 2013, and it closes with “Ain’t Afraid,” which became Zazu’s platform and slogan in her fight against cancer.

In July, Brothers Osborne, Elizabeth Cook, Elise Davis, Lilly Hiatt, Jason Isbell, Andrew Leahey, Muddy Magnolias, Caitlin Rose, Caroline Rose, Amanda Shires, Kelsey Waldon, Holly Williams and others performed at the “Songs of John Prine” benefit at Nashville’s Basement East to raise money for Zazu in her battle with the disease.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer two weeks after the band split last year. The Nashville Scene chronicled her fight in a June cover story.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.