Donna Summer, the indisputable queen of disco, passed away this morning at age 63 after a lengthy battle with cancer, TMZ is reporting.
Sources close to Summer tell us the singer was trying to keep the extent of her illness under wraps. We spoke to someone who was with Summer a couple of weeks ago, who says she didn’t seem too bad.
In fact, we’re told she was focused on trying to finish up an album she had been working on.
Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in Dorchester, Massachusetts. A former chorus girl and back-up singer, she became a five-time Grammy winner—with legendary hits like “Last Dance,” “Dim All the Lights,” “On the Radio” “Love to Love You Baby” and “Bad Girls”—and the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the US Billboard chart.
Though her music was popular with the gay community almost immediately, she faced backlash when a quote attributed to her in the mid-1980s claimed AIDS was a punishment from God. Summer denied making the comment, and in a letter to ACT UP in 1989, called the incident “a terrible misunderstanding.” “I was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters…. If I have caused you pain, forgive me.”
We will miss you, Donna. Rest in peace.