Mourning the Disco Queen

Fans React to the Passing of Legendary Singer Donna Summer

By Suite Media

summerYesterday, the music world lost another legend: The Queen of Disco, Donna Summer.

The five-time Grammy winner, born LaDonna Adrian Gaines, passed away Thursday morning in her Florida home, allegedly from lung cancer. She was 63.

“While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy,” Summer’s family wrote in a statement.

Summer is known for her definitive role in disco, delivering songs with bottom-of-the-gut passion that intensified the vivacious rhythms of her dance floor hits. She first made waves in 1975 with her controversial breakout single, “Love to Love You Baby,” going on to score four number ones with “MacArthur Park,” “Hot Stuff,” “No More Tears,” and “Bad Girls” in 1979. Summer claimed 19 number one singles throughout her 33-year career, including 2010’s “To Paris with Love.” She was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and released her final studio album, Crayons, in 2008.

But the Boston native wasn’t only known for her infectious disco tunes. Summer also infused gospel, rock-pop (1983’s “She Works Hard for the Money”), musicals and new jack swing (1991’s Mistaken Identity) into her work. She even dabbled in acting, playing the memorable character, Aunt Oona from Altoona, on “Family Matters” in the late 1990s.

In responding to her passing, President Obama released a statement offering his family’s condolences, stating: “Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Donna’s family and her dedicated fans.”

Others had similar reactions. WPGC 95.5 FM’s Herkules wrote in a blog post yesterday: “This has been a sad 24 hours in music. Today we lost the Queen of Disco Donna Summer….Her legacy will live on through her music and she will forever be known as the Queen!”

Jonathan Hailey of 93.9 WKYS FM also offered kind words: “Judging from the outpouring of emotion and support for Summer’s grieving family, Donna Summer touched a lot of lives and her music will live on.”

Likewise, fans had a chance to extend their thoughts and prayers through ABC7’s website: “My heart is broken. I grew up on Donna’s music. She had one of the all-time great voices. A true icon,” wrote a commenter by the name of Mark. “I’m so grateful I got to see her live one last time when she was last at Wolf Trap. A goddess. A legend. Donna, ‘there will always be a you.’”

Another commenter, Pat from MD, wrote: “May She Rest in Peace. Danced to her music in the seventies at the Disco’s. May she now continue her ‘LAST DANCE’ in heaven! You will be missed but your songs will live on forever.”

Published on Prince George’s Suite under Suite Media byline – Friday, May 18, 2012

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