LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Grammy-winning disco legend Donna Summer died Thursday after a battle with cancer, aged 63, her family said in a statement.
Nicknamed the Queen of Disco, the singer, whose 1970s and 80s hits included “I Feel Love,” “Love to Love you Baby” and “She Works Hard for the Money,” died in Florida, the TMZ celebrity news website said.
“Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith,” said the family statement.
“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.”
TMZ reported that she died of lung cancer, citing sources as saying she believed she contracted it after inhaling toxic particles following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York.
Summer, who also became something of an icon in the gay community, shot to fame during the disco era of the 1970s with hits like “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls.”
The disco diva, who was born into a large family in Boston, won five Grammy awards during her career, including best female vocalist in 1980, but also as recently as 1997 for best dance recording.
TMZ reported that she had kept her illness quiet, and didn’t appear too sick only a couple of weeks ago, citing sources as saying she was focused on trying to finish a new album she had been working on.
She married singer Bruce Sudano in 1980, and they had two daughters together, it said.