‘Queen of Disco’ Donna Summer dead at 63

Donna Summer in 2011.

After a battle with cancer, singer Donna Summer passed away Thursday morning at the age of 63.

The singer, who was born LaDonna Gaines in Dorchester, Mass. was known as the “Queen of Disco” because of her string of mega hits in the 1970s, which included “Hot Stuff,” “Love to Love You Baby” and “Last Dance.” In a little more than a year she charted four No. 1 singles.

Though she reached superstardom and earned most of her five Grammy awards in the disco era, Summer’s success stretched into more contemporary times. She landed No. 1 singles in the ’80s, ’90s, 2000s and even this decade: “To Paris With Love” topped the Billboard Dance Charts in October of 2010.

The singer will probably best be remembered for not only her contribution to disco, but her help in inventing the genre with producer Giorgio Moroder. The songs were often long symphonic suites with relaxed funky back beats and Summer’s sexy coo breezing on the top layer.

But as the trend faded, Summer was able to distance herself from disco. She had one of her strongest hits in 1983 with “She Works Hard For the Money,” an anthem of female empowerment that showed Summer was ready for the MTV age.

The singer had been diagnosed with cancer but had reportedly been well enough to work on an album in Florida until her health took a turn for the worse.


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