Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco in the '70s and '80s, died Thursday morning after a battle with cancer, TMZ is reporting. She was 63.
Summer was reportedly in Florida at the time of her death. She had been trying to keep word of her illness secret as she finished up a new album. According to Tampabay.com research, the singer owned a vacation home in Englewood, near Sarasota. The LA Times reports Summer had been living there with her husband Bruce Sudano.
Her exact cause of death is still unknown. TMZ reports Summer suffered from lung cancer, believed to be contracted by "inhaling toxic particles after the 9/11 attack in New York City." Other reports say she died in Key West from breast cancer. The singer's longtime manager Susan Muneo told the New York Times it was cancer, but wouldn't say what type.)
Her family has released a statement saying they "are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continue legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."
The 5-time Grammy winner (12-time nominee) scored iconic hits including Last Dance, Hot Stuff andBad Girls. In the '80s, she scored mega-hits with On The Radio, She Works Hard for the Money, This Time I Know It's For Real and The Wanderer. She was also a formally trained painter who had made at least $1 million selling her original artwork.
"As a young girl, I didn’t know what fame was," she once told an interviewer. "I just thought fame was people knowing you. It's an end unto itself, which it should not be."
Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes is one of many artists commenting online on her death today.
"I just heard the very sad news that Donna Summer has passed away," Rhodes wrote on the band's official website. "For me, there is no doubt that her song I Feel Love had a dramatic effect on modern music. It was certainly a key influence on my work with Duran Duran. Together with producer Giorgio Moroder, Donna pioneered the use of electronic sequencers in dance music. Today that sound that seems so familiar, but in 1977, it was a brave new frontier. It’s extremely rare that you hear one song that completely changes the way you perceive music. I Feel Loveachieved that."
Sheila E tweeted today: "To my friend Donna Summer, You will be missed but not 4gotten. The first Diva, WE love you. Prayers to the family & friends."
The Go-Go's Belinda Carlisle tweeted: "So sad about Donna Summer....way to young. Sending lots of love and light."
Ryan Seacrest tweeted: "I remember sitting in the front seat of my mom's toyota while she sang Donna Summer's 'She Works Hard for the Money'..."
Bobby Brown tweeted: "Rest in Paradise Ms Donna Summer... 1st lady of Boston..."
She is survived by her husband, three daughters, and four grandchildren, according to USA Today.