The day disco died: Donna Summer succumbs to cancer
Alas, today truly is the day that disco died.
American singer Donna Summer, called the Queen of Disco, has died at the age of 63 after a battle with cancer, according to news reports.
Born as LaDonna Adrian Gaines in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1948, the five-time Grammy winner first rose to fame after moving to Europe and working with Italian producer Giorgio Moroder.
Her first U.S. single was "Love to Love You Baby" in 1975.
The 16-minute extended version of the song featured Summer simulating orgasmic groans and moans. She developed a sexualized image (she became nicknamed the "First Lady of Love") that she both utilized (such as on the prostitution-themed Bad Girls album) and struggled to break free of later in her career.
She had a string of hits during the 1970s with numerous disco-era classics, including "I Feel Love" and "Last Dance". Her disco cover version of Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park" was her first U.S. number one single.
As disco began to yield to other musical genres, Summer shifted in 1979 to rock and dance fusion with songs like "Bad Girls" and "Hot Stuff". She also released the anthemic "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)", a successful duet with Barbra Streisand. All three songs hit number one.
In the 1980s, she made her mark with hits such as the feminist-themed "She Works Hard for the Money".
She also revived her career in 1988 with British hit-making production team Stock Aitken Waterman, and made it back into the U.S. top 40 one last time with the single "This Time I Know It's For Real".
Due to her dance music career, Summer had become a major icon for gay fans. Yet after becoming a born-again Christian in the mid-'80s, she became embroiled in controversy when allegations were made that she commented that AIDS was punishment for homosexuality. She repeatedly denied making such remarks and even took legal action.
She continued to release albums in the '90s and 2000s, including the 2008 album Crayons. She was reportedly working on a new album at the time of her death.
She is survived by two daughters and her husband.