Donna Summer: Queen Of Disco, death, lifestyle, Career, Family

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By Jitin Gambhir

A brand new documentary on the legendary “Queen of Disco”, Donna Summer, has recently been released. After a career spanning decades and selling more than 100 million copies of hit singles, many music lovers are likely curious about how Donna Summer passed away. This documentary, which was filmed by her daughter Brooklyn Sudano and Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams, offers a fresh viewpoint on the “Last Dance” singer more than ten years after she passed away.

Love to Love You, Donna Summer is an in-depth look at the renowned musician as her voice and talent carry her from the avant-garde music scene in Germany to the glitter and brilliant lights of dance clubs in New York, according to the synopsis of the documentary that will air on HBO. The film is a highly intimate depiction of Summer both on and off stage, and it incorporates an abundance of photographs and home video footage that has never been seen before, the most of which was shot by Summer herself. Love to Love You is an album by Donna Summer that addresses the highs and lows of a life that has been lived on the global stage. The album provides a rich window into the astonishing variety of Summer’s artistic ability, from songwriting to painting.

So how did Donna Summer die? Continue reading to find out more.

Donna Summer: Queen of Disco
Donna Summer: Queen of Disco

Who was Donna Summer?

Donna Summer was an American singer and songwriter who was a global success and one of the most influential performers in the disco genre. She was most known for her role in helping to spread the popularity of disco music over the world.

During the height of the disco craze in the 1970s, the band Summer rose to fame thanks to the success of songs such as “I Feel Love,” “Love To Love You Baby,” “Hot Stuff,” and “Bad Girls.”

Donna Summer was a frequent collaboration with Italian synth composer Giorgio Moroder. She went on to sell more than 100 million records all over the world, making her one of the best-selling performers in the history of music.

When she was at the height of her commercial success from 1975 through 1984, she had more top 10 successes on the Billboard charts (12 total, 10 of which reached the top 5) than any other artist working during that time period.

Summer was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, a full year after her passing, and she was awarded a total of five Grammys throughout her lifetime.

She is widely credited with revolutionising the sound of dance music and continues to wield a significant amount of sway over contemporary pop musicians.

How old is Donna Summer and where was she born?

Donna Summer, whose birth name was LaDonna Adrian Gaines, was born in Boston, Massachusetts on the 31st of December 1948, the night before New Year’s Eve. She died on May 17, 2012 from Lung Cancer.


Her mother was a teacher, while her father, Andrew Gaines, was a butcher in the family business. She was the third child out of a total of seven.

How did Donna Summer get her start in music Industry?

Right before she graduated high school, Donna Summer left Boston for New York where she joined blues rock band Crow, who broke up soon after.

After securing the part in the counterculture musical Hair, Summer moved to Munich and had a brief but unsuccessful stint as a solo singer under the name Donna Gaines.

Whilst in Munich working as a part-time model, Summer met Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte who would all form a working partnership and began writing songs together.

Early songs such as ‘The Hostage’ became hits in Europe, but it wasn’t until that release of ‘Love To Love You Baby’ that Summer would became globally renowned.

Which of Donna Summer’s songs become her most famous hits?

  • ‘I Feel Love’
  • ‘Bad Girls’
  • ‘Hot Stuff’
  • ‘Love To Love You Baby’
  • ‘Heaven Knows’
  • ‘Last Dance’
  • ‘Dim All The Lights’
  • ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)’ with Barbra Streisand
  • ‘On The Radio’
  • ‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’

Who did Donna Summer marry?

Donna Summer has been married twice in her lifetime. During her stay in Munich, she got married to the Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973. It was from him that she took the anglicised version of his surname, “Summer,” to use as her stage name. During this time, she also gave birth to her first child, Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer.

After getting a divorce in 1976, Summer would go on to meet singer Bruce Sudano, whom she would eventually wed in 1980. Brooklyn and Amanda were the couple’s two offspring from their union. They stayed together up till the time of Summer’s passing.

How did Donna Summer die?

After a courageous fight against lung cancer, Donna Summer passed away on May 17, 2012. Her family said in a statement that “early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith.” Her passing occurred “early this morning.”
“Although we are saddened by her passing, we are at peace as we celebrate the extraordinary life she led and the legacy she leaves behind.” During this difficult time, we want to let you know how much we value your thoughts and prayers, as well as your love and support for our family.

Despite the fact that Summer had never smoked, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and she believes that it was brought on by the events of 9/11. When the attacks on the twin towers occurred, she was residing in an apartment in the heart of downtown Manhattan. She said of the event, “I was really freaked out by the horrific experiences of that day,” and she reflected on how it made her feel. “I was unable to leave the house because I had no desire to interact with anyone.” It was necessary for me to keep the blinds drawn and remain in the room they were in. After attending church, I felt a renewed radiance throughout my spirit. That weightlessness had lifted.”

Following her passing, reports emerged about how she had lung cancer that was connected to smoking, despite the fact that her family refuted the claim. “Various reports currently surfacing about the cause of Ms. Summer’s death are not accurate,” spokesperson Brian Edward said today.”Obviously, there are numerous factors that can be attributed to the cause of cancer in general, but any details regarding the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of Ms. Summer’s case remain between her family and team of doctors.”

After her passing, a multitude of musicians paid tribute to the “Love to Love You, Baby” singer by performing moving renditions of her songs in honour of her legacy.

Elton John issued a statement in which he said, “It is a total disgrace that she has never been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, especially when I see the second-rate talent that has been inducted.” She has been a wonderful friend to both the Elton John Aids Foundation and to me, and I am going to miss her very much. She was referred to by Kylie Minogue as “one of my earliest musical inspirations.”

“When you lose a friend, you feel like they are gone for good… but that is not the case with my dear friend Donna,” the famous actress and singer Liza Minelli wrote on her Instagram account. We shall always be dancing to her songs because she was a queen and because she was the queen of disco. My thoughts and prayers are constantly with her family at this difficult time.

According to The New York Times, head of the nominating committee Jon Landau wanted to change the fact that Summer was not admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before her death. “There is absolutely no doubt that the extraordinary Donna Summer belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Landau wrote. “It’s just a matter of time.” “Regrettably, despite being nominated on a number of occasions, our voting group has failed to recognise her — an error I can only hope is finally and permanently rectified next year,” said the leader of the voting group. The next year, in 2013, her family accepted the award on her behalf and it was their first time doing so.

Brooklyn Sudano shared with Jezebel the following explanation for why she decided to make a documentary in honour of her mother’s legacy: “There were a lot of tears some days. She explained that there were a few revelations and chats that really brought up a lot of information. “But I couldn’t be more grateful that I was able to acquire them.” Sudano was pleased with the documentary since it aimed to depict Donna Summer as “a complex, layered artist, not just this figurehead for a movement.”

Lung cancer was the cause of Donna Summer’s death on May 17, 2012.

She was a non-smoker, and she came up with the theory that it was caused by her breathing in toxic gases and dust during the attacks on September 11th, because her flat at the time was so close to Ground Zero that you could reach out and touch it.

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, which had its world premiere in San Diego in 2017, and then moved on to Broadway the following year, was inspired by the life and works of the disco pioneer Donna Summer.

The music of Summer has been sampled by a wide variety of artists, including Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue, Pet Shop Boys, Lizzo, and Texas, to name a few. These musicians all consider Summer to be a significant musical influence.

Donna Summer was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song for her song “Last Dance,” which was used on the soundtrack of the film Thank God It’s Friday (1978).

Due to the fact that she had spent the majority of her twenties in Munich, she was completely proficient in German.

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