“Queen Of Disco” Donna Summer died early yesterday. She was 63. She passed away in Florida after a battle with cancer. According to TMZ, it waslung cancer, an illness she believes she contracted from inhaling toxic particles released after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York. Her family confirmed Summer’s death, telling the AP that they “are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.” The news came as a surprise because most people didn’t know she was sick.
Summer had been seen publicly as recently as last June, when she appeared as a panelist on Bravo’s music reality show Platinum Hit. Sources say she had been trying to hide how sick she was. A source said that Summer didn’t seem to be in that bad of shape even two weeks ago. She is survived by her adult daughters Mimi (by her first husband, actor Helmuth Sommer), Brooklyn and Amanda (by second husband Bruce Sudano).
Summer was a five-time Grammy Award winner. Her hits include ”Last Dance” and ”Bad Girls”. She was also the first artist ever to have three back-to-back No. 1 double albums. In 2010, she was nominated for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame but wasn’t chosen. She’s credited with influencing artists from Madonna and Michael Jackson, to Beyonce and Rihanna.
Naturally, a ton of singers and various other celebrities had something to say about Donna Summer’s death. Here are the highlights:
–Aretha Franklin: “So shocking to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. In the ’70s, she reigned over the disco era and kept the disco jumping. Who will forget ’Last Dance’? A fine performer and a very nice person.”
–Barbra Streisand: “I was shocked to hear about Donna. She was so vital the last time I saw her a few months ago. I loved doing the duet with her. She had an amazing voice and was so talented. It’s so sad. ”
–Quincy Jones: “Rest in Peace dear Donna Summer. Your voice was the heartbeat and soundtrack of a decade.”
–President Obama: “Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. Donna truly was the ‘Queen of Disco.’ Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon.”
–Chaka Khan: “Donna and I had a friendship for over 30 years. She’s one of the few black women I could speak German with and she is one of the few friends I had in this business.”
–Slash: “R.I.P. Donna Summer. She was the Queen of Disco no doubt. Although I pretty much loathed disco, I always thought she was pretty cool.”
–Janet Jackson: “We will miss Donna Summer! She changed the world of music with her beautiful voice and incredible talent.”
–LaToya Jackson: “My condolences to Donna Summer’s family and love ones. She will be terribly missed. She was truly the Disco Queen!”
–Neil Patrick Harris: “Donna Summer passed away today. Same day as Jim Henson, 22 years ago.” In honor of both, he linked to a YouTube video of The Muppets singing Donna’s ”Hot Stuff”.
–Mary J. Blige: “R.I.P. Donna Summer! You were truly a game changer!”
–Kate Walsh from ”Grey’s Anatomy” and ”Private Practice”: “I remember buying Donna Summer’s ’I Remember Yesterday’ when I was 10, and being obsessed with ’I Feel Love’.”
–Ryan Seacrest: “I remember sitting in the front seat of my mom’s Toyota while she sang Donna Summer’s ’She Works Hard for the Money’. Songs were just classic.”
–Harry Wayne Casey, “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band: “It’s just very sad . . . she was so young and vibrant . . . her voice was smooth and comforting . . .
–”We just saw each other several months ago. She was beautiful as ever and her voice as strong as when I met her and we had some great laughs and a stroll down memory lane.”
–Piers Morgan: “R.I.P. Donna. [I] dined with her a few months ago, and she sang ’Amazing Grace’ to guests with stunning power. Great lady, wonderful talent.”
–Alyssa Milano: “I used to do interpretative dance in my living room to Donna Summer’s music when I was a little girl. Rest in peace.”
–Jaleel White: “She was one of the best guest stars we ever had on ’Family Matters’. She will be missed.” (–Donna played Urkel’s aunt on two episodes.)
–Elton John: “I’m so sad. This woman was the queen of disco and so much more. Her records sound as good today as they ever did. That she has never been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a total disgrace, especially when I see the second-rate talent that has been inducted. She’s a great friend to me . . . and I will miss her greatly.”
–And Katharine McPhee has given us the obligatory, “So-and-so is now doing such-and-such in Heaven” tribute. She said, quote, “R.I.P. Donna Summer. Hope you’re dancing up there.”