“Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith. 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.”
Her first major hit was the 17-minute “Love to Love You Baby,” an orgasmic dance song collaborating with producer Giorgio Moroder.
The five-time Grammy winner has rocked the charts with such hits as “I feel love,” “Love to Love You Baby,” “She works Hard for the Money,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls,” and an upbeat version of Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park.”
The Recording Academy said she “had a dynamic voice and unique musical style that helped define the dance music genre in the 70s.”
“She also was an artist who crossed many musical genres, as evidenced by her Grammy wins in the R&B, rock, inspirational, and dance categories,” said Recording Academy President Neil Portnow. “Her talent was a true gift to the music industry, and our thoughts and sympathies are with her family, friends, and fans throughout the world during this difficult time.”
“I can’t believe we’ve lost another wonderful singer,” exclaimed Dolly Parton. “Donna, like Whitney [Houston], had one of the greatest voices ever. I loved her records. She was the disco queen, and will remain so. I knew her and found her to be one of the most likeable and fun people ever. She will be missed and remembered.”
Summer’s latest efforts have been emphasizing her faith as a born-again Christian, with such songs recorded as the 80′s “I believe in Jesus.”