Jones’ career started at age 40. She formed a band, Dap-Kings and they released seven albums.
Jones had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013. She had a surgery and went into remission nine months later, however, at the premiere of her documentary "Miss Sharon Jones", she announced that the cancer had returned.
"She was surrounded by her loved ones, including The Dap-Kings," her band said in a statement, when she passed away on Friday in Cooperstown, New York.
Jones only achieved fame in middle-age, and had worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison in New York and as a bank guard to make ends meet while seeking a breakthrough in the music industry.
That moment came in 1996, when at the age of 40 she was performing as backup singer at a recording session for soul singer Lee Fields.
She went on to release a number of singles, including 'Damn it's hot' and versions of funk classics 'I Got the Feelin' and 'Hook & Sling', before fronting the band Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, with whom she recorded seven albums.
One of those, 'Give the people what they want' received a Grammy nomination in 2014 in the category Best R&B Album.
Known for her big voice and dynamic on-stage persona, Jones was often compared to the late 'Godfather of Soul' James Brown, who she said was one of her idols.
She also performed with Michael Buble, Lou Reed and Stevie Wonder during her career.