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Donna Summer Dead, Disco Legend Dies After Cancer Battle at 63

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Donna Summer has died following a battle with cancer, according to TMZ. The 63-year-old disco legend reportedly passed away this morning (May 17) in Florida, Spinner reports.

Summer is known for her many hits, including “Hot Stuff,” “Last Dance,” “She Works Hard for the Money” and “Bad Girls,” among many others, and won five Grammys over the course of her career. According to an update on TMZ, Summer had lung cancer, which she believed came from inhaling particles after the 9/11 attacks in New York. She was reportedly working on a new album up to the time of her death.

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Born Donna Gaines and raised in Boston, Summer began singing in her church and decided to pursue a career in music in the late ’60s. After performing in musicals in Europe, she released her first single, “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses,” under her birth name in 1971. That year, she married actor Helmuth Sommer, whose name she would keep — and anglicize the spelling of — after they divorced in 1975.

That same year, Summer had her first big success was with the song “Love to Love You Baby,” which caused some controversy due to her orgasmic moaning. The track was also released as a 17-minute single in order to get more play in disco clubs and hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. That song was the first in a series of singles to top or make it to the top 10 on the Billboard Dance charts.

In 1978, Summer hit No. 3 on the singles chart with “Last Dance,” a song taken from the disco-themed movie “Thank God It’s Friday,” in which she acted. She then had her first No. 1 single with “MacArthur Park,” and topped the chart three times in 1979 with “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls” and “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” a duet with Barbra Streisand. “Last Dance” and “Hot Stuff” also won Grammys.

Around this time, she also battled anxiety and depression, which led to a prescription-drug addiction and several suicide attempts. She kicked the habit, became a born-again Christian and married singer and producer Bruce Sudano in 1980.

Summer strayed from her disco sound in the ’80s, opting for a more rock, New Wave and R&B-oriented sound. Her greatest success of that era was 1983′s She Works Hard for the Money album, the title track of which went to No. 3.

She is survived by Sudano, their two daughters, Brooklyn and Amanda, and her daughter with Sommer, Mimi.

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