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Donna Summer dies, age 63

The "Queen of Disco" has died of cancer.

Donna Summer, the American singer-songwriter who gained fame during the Seventies disco era, has passed away in her Florida home. Summer died at the age of 63 after a long cancer battle. 

Born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in 1948, Summer began singing as a child in her local Boston church. She went on to become the first ever artist to have three double albums, all in a row, reach the top of the Billboard charts. She won five Grammy Awards over her 43-year career and released 17 studio albums (ten of which, as of today, have gone Gold or Platinum), and is best remembered for her 1977 track "I Feel Love".

The song was an immediate hit and continued to be played in the dance clubs, emerging as a gay anthem, in the Eighties and Nineties. Here's David Bowie recounting when he first heard it:

One day in Berlin . . . [Brian] Eno came running in and said, "I have heard the sound of the future" . . . he puts on "I Feel Love", by Donna Summer . . . He said, "This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years." Which was more or less right.

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.