‘Queen of Disco’ Donna Summer Loses Battle with Cancer

Posted May 17th, 2012 at 7:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Music legend Donna Summer, known by many as the Queen of Disco, has died.

The five-time Grammy Award winner died Thursday at the age of 63 in Florida. Those close to her say she had been battling lung cancer for some time but had tried to keep her illness private.

Summer rose to stardom in the 1970s with hits like “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls,” and “Last Dance,” which helped define the disco era.

She was born Donna Gaines December 31, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts to a religious family and much of her early training came from singing in a church choir.

She moved to Europe in the late 1960s, where she was cast in a German production of the musical “Hair,” and even learned to speak fluent German.

Summer returned to the United States and enjoyed popular success, culminating in 1979 with the “Bad Girls” album.

She continued to have hits in the 1980s, including 1983's “She Works hard for the Money.”

Summer married singer and songwriter Bruce Sudano in 1980. The couple had two children.

President Barack Obama says he and first lady Michelle Obama are saddened at Summer's passing, calling her a legend with an unforgettable voice.