Donna Summer, the disco legend whose songs helped define a decade, died today at her Englewood, Fla. home after a long battle with cancer. She was 63.
The singer known for her hits “The Last Dance,” “She Works Hard For Her Money” and Number One pop singles with “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls, and” “MacArthur Park” was one of the pioneering voices in disco music. Her music opened the doors for not only disco musicians, but she can also be considered one of the first dance and EDM musicians at a time when rock music was the only show in town.
“Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith,” a statement from the singer's family says. “While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time.”
Known as the “Queen of Disco,” the singer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines and raised in Boston, which is where she got her start while singing at her local church and believe it or not, a psychedelic rock band. From there, she won a role in a touring production of the iconic play Hair and from there, signed with Casablanca Records and produced the work she was most famous for. In 2004, Summer was elected to the Dance Music Hall of Fame, and in 2009 she performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in honor of President Obama.
Summer's last album, “Crayons,” came out in 2008. She is survived by her husband, Brooklyn Dreams singer Bruce Sudano, three daughters and four grandchildren.