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Jessi Zazu, whose band Those Darlins was at the forefront of the city’s indie rock revival a decade ago, died on Tuesday following an extended battle with cancer. Zazu, whose legal name was Jessi Zazu Wariner, was 28.

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

She emerged on the local music scene as a teenager, joining Nikki Kvarnes and Kelley Anderson to form Those Darlins. The band’s music spanned many genres, often sounding on early recordings like a punk rock version of the Carter Family.

Local music fans were captivated and the band began touring ferociously, multiplying its following across the nation. Those Darlins helped establish that the local music scene was more than just country.

Zazu, whose uncle is country musician Steve Wariner, was public about her battle with cancer. She documented her fight in cover story in the Nashvile Scene.

After Those Darlins broke up last year, Zazu focused on her art, including a show in June at the Julia Martin Gallery where work by Zazu and her mother Kathy Wariner was displayed.

More: Jason Isbell, other folk stars to perform at benefit for Nashville rocker Jessi Zazu

Zazu designed t-shirts that said, “Ain’t Afraid” in stark red letters. Sales from the shirts helped raise over $50,000 toward her medical bills.

Zazu is survived by her mother Kathy Wariner, her father David Wariner and her brothers Emmett Wariner and Oakley Wariner.

Reach Nate Rau at 615-259-8094 and nrau@tennessean.com. Follow him on Twitter @tnnaterau.

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