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DISCO OUEEN DONNA LOSES CANCER FIGHT; MUSIC WORLD MOURNS AN INSPIRATION Tributes to legend Summer.

Byline: Rick Fulton

TRIBUTES last night poured in for Donna Summer after the disco legend died aged 63.

She passed away in Florida following a battle with lung cancer.

Her family hailed the singer - best known for her string of 70s hits including I Feel Love, Last Dance and Bad Girls - as "a woman of many gifts".

Their statement added: "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."

Record producer Pete Waterman - who worked with the "Queen of Disco" in the 1980s - said his abiding memory was of "a lovely person".

He recalled: "Whenever you were with her, she made you feel so special.

She had all the talent but she gave you all the credit. She was not a diva in any shape or form."

Critic Paul Gambaccini said: "The fact that dance music is so popular today owes a lot to a handful of disco pioneers like Donna. She influenced a generation and I am desperately saddened by the news."

There were also tributes on Twitter.

LaToya Jackson said: "She will be terribly missed."

Rapper Nicki Minaj said: "Another legend gone. Rest in peace to the beautiful disco queen."

Reports in the US claimed Summer - real name LaDonna Gaines - believed she got cancer after inhaling toxic particles after the 9/11 attacks in New York.

She also suffered serious depression in the wake of the attacks, when she had been staying at her Manhattan apartment.

She had been battling the disease in secret at her home in Englewood.

Summer was raised in Boston on gospel music.

Love to Love You Baby was her US chart debut and the first of 19 No1 dance hits between 1975 and 2008 - second only to Madonna.

During the disco era, she was the only artist to have three consecutive double-LPs hit No1. She was also the first female artist with four No1 singles in a 13-month period.

Summer released her last album, Crayons, in 2008 and also performed on American Idol that year.

In her personal life, Summer married actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973 and they had a daughter later that year.

The marriage ended in 1975 and Summer married Brooklyn Dreams musician Bruce Sudano in 1980. The couple had two daughters.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 18, 2012
Words:411
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