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Disco icon Donna Summer has died at the age of 63
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Summer had a string of hits during the disco heyday of the Seventies and remains best known for her hit I Feel Love. She was singing from the age of 8 in her church choir and would go on to win five Grammy Awards and have huge chart success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Summer was reportedly battling cancer.

Her family said in a statement: "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."

Although she fell into severe depression after the 9/11 attacks on the US, Summer recovered with the help of her faith. She said in 2008: "I went to church and light came back into my soul. That heaviness was gone."

The Personal Life of Donna Summer

Summer was one of seven children born and raised in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, living on the first floor of a three-decker home. Following her move to Austria in 1971, she met and fell in love with actor Helmuth Sommer while the two were acting in Godspell. In 1973, the couple married and that year Summer gave birth to her first child, daughter Mimi Sommer. However, the marriage crumbled and by 1975, they had formally divorced.[23] Summer took her husband's last name, translated to English, as her stage name. After her divorce, she moved into her Los Angeles house with lover Peter Mühldorfer, a respected surrealist painter. As her fame increased, Mühldorfer resented all the press and public attention and it drove a wedge between them. She has stated that he became violent and with the help of Casablanca Records mogul Neil Bogart he was eventually forced to return to Germany after his visa was revoked.

In 1978, while working on the hit track, "Heaven Knows" which featured Brooklyn Dreams member Joe "Bean" Esposito on vocals, Summer met fellow member Bruce Sudano. Within a few months, Summer and Sudano became an item. The couple married on July 16, 1980. A year later, Summer gave birth to another daughter (her first child with Sudano), Brooklyn Sudano, named after Sudano's group. A year after that, Summer and Sudano had their second child, Amanda.

Summer had often talked about her early successful years as a period of confusion and anxiety. By mid-1977, struggling with the media's crowning her "the first lady of love", she began suffering from depression and anxiety attacks. Summer wrote in her memoirs that she attempted suicide several times. Her rapid rise to success combined with some serious regrets about mistakes in her personal life. During this time, she self-medicated on prescription medication, resulting in an addiction. Following a nervous breakdown at her home in 1979, Summer went to a local church with her sister Dara and declared herself a born-again Christian.

Summer then decided that from then on, she would no longer perform the song that had won her international fame and recognition, "Love to Love You Baby". A quarter of a century later, however, she began performing the song again live.

In 1994, Summer and her family moved from Los Angeles to Nashville, where she took time out from show business to focus on painting, a hobby she began in 1985. In 1995, Summer's mother died.

"The 'controversy' of disco is now ancient, irrelevant history," said long-time city radio host Famous Amos. "What remains of Donna Summer is the memory of one of America's, and world's, greatest recording artists."