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Disco balls of days gone by: Mourning the loss of Donna Summer

May 17, 2012|By Rene Lynch

It's been decades since Donna Summer ruled the airwaves. But her loyal followers made clear Thursday morning that she was still the Queen of Disco.

Summer, 63, died early Thursday morning, reportedly following a protracted battle with cancer. Her family issued a statement that said, in part: "While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time."

On Twitter, celebrities and fans poured out their hearts in grief, and posted photos of the sexy singer with her gravity-defying curls, luscious lips and mega-watt smile. "Rest in Peace dear Donna Summer. Your voice was the heartbeat and soundtrack of a decade," music mogul Quincy Jones tweeted. Here are some other tweets:

Photos: Donna Summer: 1948-2012

--"Thank you for all the amazing songs that we grew up with. A true legend"

--"All hail the Queen. Love Forever To Donna Summer! xoxox"

--"RIP...You were the diva of all divas."

Hers was the music that people loved to listen to -- even if they didn't want to admit it. At weddings, D.J.s could rely on her disco hits to get the crowd out on the dance floor.

"One of my first memories is of my mom and I disco dancing in the living room to Donna Summer. Yeah, I'm a little embarrassed about that.... Thanks for the memories," went another comment posted online.

The Grammy-winner helped define a music genre that rose to prominence in the 1970s and helped usher in a new club scene -- discos -- such as Studio 54 in Manhattan.

Summer was also a well-known songwriter, and had a lesser-known talent: As a respected surrealist painter.

Her hit songs included "MacArthur Park," "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls," and a duet with Barbra Streisand, "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)."

And one of her biggest hits, "Love to Love You, Baby," was downright scandalous with all its suggestive moaning and groaning. Many radio stations refused to play it. 

Summer sought to keep her illness out of the public eye, according to TMZ, which was among the first to report her passing. As a result, the death caught many by surprise.

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rene.lynch@latimes.com

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