Disco legend Donna Summer passed away Thursday morning (May 17), succumbing to a long battle with cancer. She was 63 years old.
According to TMZ, Summer was in Florida at the time of her death.
“Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith,” the family of the singer said in a 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 says the legendary singer was trying to keep the extent of her illness under wraps, and was actually was trying to finish up an album she had been working on.
How much of that album Summer had completed before her death was unknown at press time.
Often dubbed the “Queen of Disco,” Summer began singing early in the church choir and by her teens had formed several musical groups.
She rose to fame in the 1970s, scoring hits such as with “Last Dance,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls.” Her first album, 1974’s Lady of the Night, boasted the single “Love to Love You Baby”, which brought her worldwide fame.
In the 1978 disco film “Thank God it’s Friday,” her song “Last Dance” won Summer her first Grammy. Summer’s soaring vocals on “She Works Hard for the Money” also brought her a Best Pop Vocal Performance Award in 1984.
She holds the record for most consecutive double albums to hit #1 on the Billboard charts (three) and was the first female to have four #1 singles in a 12-month period: three as a solo artist and one as a duo with Barbra Streisand.
Summer released her last album, Crayons, in 2008. She also performed on “American Idol” that year with its top female contestants.