Five-time Grammy Award winner and disco icon of the 70s Donna Summer died of lung cancer at the age of 63 on Thursday.
A day after the iconic singer died, her family confirmed reports that the cause of death was lung cancer, but denied that it was not related to smoking. Summer’s family issued the statement amidst various inaccurate reports surfacing.
According to a new family statement, “Ms. Summer was a non-smoker”. To be fair, there are a number of other factors that can be attributed to having lung cancer but exact details connected to the treatment and diagnosis of Summer remain confidential.
Summer’s debut performance came when the scheduled church singer didn’t make it and she was asked to fill in. She was 10 years old then. Meanwhile, her big break came in her teens when she auditioned and got the role for the European version of “Hair”.
Some of her chart-topping hits included “Bad Girls”, “Last Dance”, “She Works Hard for the Money” and her disco version of “MacArthur Park”, which even outsold Richard Harris’ original version.
Her successive hits that became anthems on dance floors gave made her an icon as America’s disco queen. She also won Grammy awards in dance, inspirational and rock categories.
But just like the highs and lows of the songs she performed at the height of her popularity, she once attempted to commit suicide. She soon got used to the massive public attention and eventually left a legacy for decades to come.
Her fame reached its zenith with the song “She works hard for the money”, a major hit that tells the struggles of women in society during their time. The song’s music video was one of the first to feature a female African-American, considering that in 1983, it is extremely rare to see a non-white in a music video being aired by 2-year old MTV network. In fact, it worked so well that it made her the first female African-American to receive a nomination from the MTV Video Music Award.
Summer is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano and her three daughters.
Rumors of a public memorial service for Summer in Nashville had been deemed inaccurate by publicist Brian Edwards, only a private memorial is planned on May 30.