Donna Summer has died today at the age of 63 following a bout with cancer.


Donna Summer (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

TMZ reports the singer died in Florida. She had not made her cancer public. Friends who had seen her in recent weeks say she “didn’t seem too bad.”

Her family released a statement Thursday saying Summer died and that 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.”

Summer had been living in Englewood, Fla., with her husband Bruce Sudano. The 5-time Grammy winner had also been working on a new album.

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Born on December 31, 1948 in the Dorchester section of Boston, she was one of seven children raised by devout Christian parents. Influenced by Mahalia Jackson, Summer began singing in the church at a young age. In her teens, she formed several musical groups including one with her sister and a cousin, imitating Motown girl groups such as The Supremes and Martha and the Vandellas in Boston.

Her sound was a mix of genres, and helped her earn Grammy Awards in the dance, rock, R&B and inspirational categories.

Summer came to prominence just as disco was burgeoning, and came to define the era with a string of No. 1 hits and her beauty queen looks.

But unlike some other stars of disco who faded as the music became less popular, she was able to grow beyond it and later segued to a pop-rock sound. She had one of her biggest hits in the 1980s with “She Works Hard For The Money,” which became another anthem, this time for women’s rights.

Soon after, Summer became a born-again Christian and faced controversy when she was accused of making anti-gay comments in relation to the AIDS epidemic. Summer denied making the comments, but was the target of a boycott.

Summer released her last album, “Crayons,” in 2008. She also performed on “American Idol” that year with its top female contestants.

What’s your favorite Donna Summer? Tweet us at #1015.