Dawn Sears, a vocalist for the Grammy-nominated Western swing group the Time Jumpers, has passed away after a battle with lung cancer.

CMT reports that Sears passed away Thursday night (Dec. 11). She was 53 years old.

Sears was born in East Grand Forks, Minn. and made her way to Nashville, where she recorded for Warner Bros. and Decca Records in the '90s, charting with a single titled 'Runaway Train.' She was also an in-demand backing vocalist for artists including Tracy ByrdRonnie MilsapJim LauderdalePatty Loveless and Merle Haggard.

She was a longtime friend of Vince Gill's and worked in his touring band for years. The two also worked together in the Time Jumpers, garnering four Grammy nominations over the course of two albums.

Sears was diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer in March of 2013. She continued to perform at the Time Jumpers' weekly gigs in Nashville during her treatment, as long as she was feeling up to it.

The singer tried to maintain a positive outlook to the end. She received cards and letters from four continents as she fought the disease.

"This is going to sound crazy, but I think this disease is going to be a blessing in many ways, and you never know how much of an impact you're going to make," she told Nashville's WSMV in July. "All I ever heard in the music business when I had record deals was what was wrong, not anything good."

According to CMT, Sears attended a fundraising concert held in her name on Nov. 30 in Gallatin, Tenn., featuring Reba McEntire, the Time Jumpers and Riders in the Sky. The event brought in more than $100,000 for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

She is survived by her husband, Time Jumpers fiddler Kenny Sears, and daughter Tess. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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