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Donna Summer dies

By | Published on Friday 18 May 2012

Donna Summer

Disco queen Donna Summer died in Florida yesterday after losing a battle with cancer, she was 63.

Confirming the singer’s death, a statement from her family read: “Early this morning, surrounded by family, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith. While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy”.

Summer had been battling lung cancer, a condition which, various reports suggest, she believed may have been caused by inhaling toxic dust when the Twin Towers in New York collapsed after the 9/11 attacks on the city in 2001.

The singer was at her New York apartment, near the former World Trade Center, on the day of the attacks, after which thousands of tonnes of ash, which contained asbestos, lead and mercury, spread across lower Manhattan. According to The Sun, hundreds of New Yorkers in the area that day have since complained of respiratory illnesses.

Needless to say, the pop world lined up yesterday to pay tribute to the late singer, with the disco genre’s other great diva, Gloria Gaynor, leading the eulogies, telling the world that Summer had “forever changed … how Americans danced and enjoyed themselves. She may have had her ‘Last Dance’ here on earth, but ‘Heaven Knows’ it is dancing with joy for her arrival”.

Former collaborator Quincy Jones said via Twitter that Summer’s voice was “the heartbeat and soundtrack of a decade”, while other pop queens credited the ‘Hot Stuff’ singer’s influence on them and others, Kylie Minogue noting that the singer was “one of my earliest musical inspirations”, and Gloria Estefan tweeting: “Few singers have impacted music and the world like Donna Summer! It’s the end of an era”.

As is customary in the download age, Summer’s passing has already had an impact on her record sales as pop fans remember her musical legacy, with a 2003 best of compilation currently at number eight in the UK iTunes charts. Meanwhile the singer’s family asked that any fans wishing to pay tribute do so by making a donation to the Salvation Army.