Singer-songwriter Donna Summer, best known for ’70s hits such as “Last Dance,” “Hot Stuff” and “I Feel Love,” died Thursday (May 17) in Florida at age 63 following a battle with cancer.
Although regarded as the Queen of Disco, she and husband Bruce Sudano also wrote “Starting Over Again,” a divorce ballad recorded by Dolly Parton that reached No. 1 on Billboard‘s country songs chart in 1980. Reba McEntire‘s version of the song peaked at No. 19 on the country chart in 1996.
Born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in Boston, Summer joined the cast of German production of the musical Hair in 1967 at age 18. Working with producers-songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, she recorded her debut album in Munich in 1974 and scored an international hit the following year with the disco anthem, “Love to Love You Baby.”
“I can’t believe we’ve lost another wonderful singer,” Parton said in a written statement. “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 likable and fun people ever. She will be missed and remembered.”
Summer and Sudano moved to the Nashville area in 1995.