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Disco queen Donna Summer dies at 63

Donna Summer, one of the best-loved and radical stars of 1970s disco, has died from cancer, aged 63. Her family released a statement saying they were "at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy".

Artists were quick to acknowledge her influence and the emotional power of her recordings. Elton John said, "Her records sound as good today as they ever did. She is a great friend to me and to the Elton John Aids Foundation and I will miss her greatly."

Madonna tweeted "rest in peace", but rather spoiled the tribute by linking to a clip of one of her own performances. Dionne Warwick was a little classier with her tribute: "My heart goes out to her husband and her children. Prayers will be said to keep them strong."

Summer’s first big hit was the breathily orgasmic Love To Love You Baby, in 1976, followed by a string of hits including the influential and ground-breaking I Feel Love, recorded with producer Giorgio Moroder.

This electro-pulse, futuristic soul single was released in 1977 and its sound and impact were arguably as important as any of the angry punk records being made at the same time. It’s Summer’s iconic recording, still sounding startling and contemporary. Other hits like Could It Be Magic, Last Dance and Hot Stuff were more mainstream, but kept Summer in the charts. She won five Grammy awards.

Her adoring following in the gay community were unimpressed by remarks the born-again Christian singer made during the AIDS epidemic. She later asked for forgiveness, saying that there had been a "terrible misunderstanding", and supporting Elton John's charity. The records were fabulous enough to earn her redemption.

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