1. bozemanmontana says

    the disco ball in heaven just got a little brighter…She made 1979-80 bearable for a terrified gay boy in Montana

  2. carl says

    There is a time for everything. Could you not let go even briefly of the rancor, real or imagined, and just mourn the passing of a strong cultural symbol of the past for many of your readers?

  3. Ernest1960 says

    So sad. I was just listening to her this AM while doing the elliptical. This was the soundtrack to my teens/early 20’s. One of the best concerts I ever saw. :-(

  4. prince says

    She has REPEATEDLY stoood up for gay people and people with HIV/AIDS over the years. This ugly rumour started when someone confused donna summer with gloria gaynor who is openly homophobic and will tell anyone with ears.

    shame on your towleroad

  5. neverstops says

    regardless of those rumors, she brought a lot more smiles than tears to the lgbt community

    very sad to hear this today – fell in love with her when I was a little kid

  6. kravitz says

    The irony of her passing on what is also a day against homophobia can’t be ignored. But while her path to the church was a way past the madness at her then record label Casablanca, she did settle in the center of the extremes.

  7. Mickey says

    What Donna Summer music meant to me growing up I could never really put into words. I was just a young terrified gay boy growing up in the Pentecostal Wasteland and somehow her music was a lifeline. Her record was my prized possession.

  8. Jeff NYC says

    Andrew–you wrote the wrong article today. At moments like this, please ask yourself “What would Andy write?”

  9. Matt says

    Such sad news. Before I even understood what being gay meant, I found happiness in her music. RIP

  10. t says

    The first NY Times article appeared in 1981, and the term AIDS was not used until years later.

  11. GMB says

    ANDY and editors, you’ve got to correct this assertion before it’s picked up and run by other news sources. “AIDS” was not a known word in 1980; you should know better. The story, however misunderstood in its time, is also being misreported here. Correct with haste!

  12. says

    Big heartbreak for the gay community and the world. According to relatives and other news reports Donna believed she contracted lung cancer from the air she breathed in during the 9/11 NY City attack. It could also be surmised that she contracted it from all the second hand smoke she endured during those nightclub appearances.

    Shocked that the women was in her 60’s! How can that be? So sad and her death came from out of the blue.

  13. VDUFFORD says

    “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” Streisand and Summer duet…the best!

  14. Bobby says

    I’ve been dumbfounded since hearing of her passing this morning. I loved her and I love her music. She will be missed and I’ll be listening to that beautiful voice all day today.

  15. Jack M says

    Her music was a part of my life. No matter how she really felt about us, she brought us together and she brought us joy, and we made her a success. A pretty good deal all the way around. RIP Donna.

  16. ratbastard says

    I haven’t even thought about her in years. Funny how time fades all fame.

    by: Ken,

    True. Time doesn’t stand still for anybody.

    R.I.P. Ms. Summer

  17. Giovanni says

    Dear God was this little gay boy head over heals in love with this woman.
    Sing with Angels Donna!

  18. anon says

    She was the queen of disco, but I never warmed up to “She Works Hard for the Money” and her career nosedived after that anyway. It wasn’t until the 90’s that dance music became super popular again, after grunge came and went. A retrospective on her career would be a good TV movie or two.

  19. Lankyguy says

    I loved her, the first and best concert I ever went to. She will be sorely missed.

  20. Alexander says

    Rest In Peace Donna, how I lovingly recall roller-discoing to you in my garage.
    Bad Girls was the first album I ever got for my very own…can still remember my mom taking me to get it.
    And for what she did or didn’t say about us gays…have none of us EVER made a mistake we regret.
    God bless you Donnna…your music helped me see the light in a very dark period of my life.

  21. OberonOZ says

    So very sad. I love her music and have pretty much everything she has ever done. So sad I never got to see her live in person. RIP Donna. You will be missed very much.

  22. Zlick says

    I was never more than a casual yet appreciative fan. But someone gave me tickets to see her at the Universal Amphitheater here in L.A. (sometime in the mid-’90’s) – and though I scoffed and didn’t expect much, Ms. Summer put on the most amazing show. I was so impressed and also realized how many of her songs I came to enjoy. RIP Donna Summer.

  23. Ron says

    I will always have a special place in my heart for her music, the soundtrack of my youth. What a voice! “Last Dace” actually was the last dance at my prom! what memories…

  24. Maverick69 says

    Way to go Andy, enrage the gay community. I’m sure you’re very perfect yourself and nothing you’ve ever said in your lifetime has been taken out of context.

    Endless Summer !!!!

  25. Jason R. says

    Donna Summer’s “On the Radio / Greatest Hits” is one of my most fondest albums as a kid. She is indeed, and will always be, the Queen of Disco! May Ms. Summer’s family find some form of peace and comfort with the loss of an icon.

  26. DAVID says

    A powerhouse whose voice grew stronger as she aged – just check out her performances in the 2011 David Foster & Friends concert recorded for American Masters on PBS. Her music has always breathed new life into me when I needed it most. I’m so sad today.

  27. Booka says

    When I first came out I bought “I feel Love”(early-Trance?) and played it to death. A couple of years later in that heady summer of 1978 I found myself 2 row center at her concert where they recorded the live album. On certain tracks, on that album they picked up my hooting in the audience! Finally, I should never forget seeing her on a bright hot day in 78′, Ice cream cone in her hand(from the drug store on Sunset), in her big blue cadillac going up my steep one lane street in the Hollywood Hills. Years later
    i heard about those awful remarks she supposedly made, and felt a real sting of betrayal. Yet still, She, like it or not, was one of the prime gay icons of that formative period, and would always be. So it hardly mattered if it was true her god gave her regrets. It is sad to hear shes gone, she was a bit of a touchstone to me in the strangest ways, and to so many other gay boys in those important moments in our history…Donna, I hope you feel Love…R.I.P.

  28. Tagg says

    Donna publicly refuted that statement years ago so let it go! Her music was timeless and much more than “disco”. Half her catalog was pop music and loved her post disco music just as much. Im sure VH1 will be showing the concert they did with her in the late 90’s or early 2000’s since she passed away. She was AMAZING!

  29. Gonzo says

    Maverick can’t you read you idiot? Andy did not post this entry. It was Andrew. Just like Pacquiao comments were taking out of context….yeah right.

  30. CPT_Doom says

    I am one of the few gay men who hates dance music/disco. I was a child of the 80s and raised on indie-rock, progressive music, synth pop, New Wave, and grunge.

    And yet…

    I was stunned this morning when I heard the news. Donna Summer transcended her genre, much like Karen Carpenter transcended the cheesy AM-radio genre that was her brother’s forte – and both because of their amazing voices. Sirius OutQ’s Larry Flyck did an impromptu tribute to Ms. Summer at lunchtime and I realized nearly every song of hers he played I loved.

    And of course they played “Last Dance” and I flashed back to the late 70s and my family’s first experience with HBO, which played “Thank God It’s Friday” endlessly.

    What a loss.

  31. Iwontgrowup says

    Thank you Donna for making my voyage a little easier. I remember the days of dancing my ass off under that mirrored ball and thinking life was wonderful and the shear utter JOY of that the music. We thought it would never end, it did, for most of us are now in our 50’s and 60’s and risk a cardiac “incident” on a dance floor. But we still turn it up loud when we hear it on the radio and it takes us back to that “Last Dance” on a Saturday night.
    Rest in Peace, you will forever be our Disco Queen.
    But the dance goes on with the new gay kids who can come out and dance THEIR asses off

  32. Eddy says

    Why you gotta focus on the negative man! One it was a rumor and Two she apologized for the rumor and Three, gawd help us all if we were eulogized by any of our missteps. She will be sorely missed. Before Madonna, there was Donna and the former would not have hit if the latter didn’t blaze the trail first!!

  33. Onetta says

    Donna, if you’re sorry you said those things, I think most of us are willing to forgive you. If you weren’t truly sorry, and if you merely adopted that faux-xtian drone about hating the sin and loving the sinner…..well, I think most of us would still feel sorrow at your passing, and pangs of sadness that you never truly understood the magnitude of the hurtfulness of those things you said.

    In any case, thanks for the music–it was a fun part of my adolescence, and even now I bust out Bad Girls and Hot Stuff every once in awhile for a jolt. And yeah, long before I started looking at men, I was looking at you. Funny how things work out, no?

  34. Lucas says

    I’m pretty young.. I’m 24, was born in 1988, so I never really knew who she was until a few years ago… but I really only knew OF her, I didn’t pay any attention to her.. but today, when I heard the news, I bought a couple of her albums and was shocked that I know and LOVE most of her songs, I just never knew it was her that sang them…

    Her music is timeless and she will be missed. RIP Donna :(

  35. Brains says

    If you did cast a stone at us, we forgive you.

    But only because you paved our way to freedom!

    Rest in peace!

  36. Michael says

    Some of you are quick to defend because she had a good disco beat, how sad. She was a born-again hater. Didn’t even respond to the criticism of her evil words until years later.

  37. Mark says

    Of course, the last tune from Donna that I recall was Carry On. Her voice was pure and smooth. Put her and Giorgio together – and the music just flows.

    No one did for ‘disco’ what Donna did for disco. She took it from the “bump” and “funk” to mainstream with her hits at the top of the charts – in and out of the clubs.

    She will always hold a top spot with me.

  38. jaragon says

    Great singer- her classic songs will be forever link with gay history-may she rest in peace.

  39. Geoff says

    Her Music was the soundtrack of my awakening of what and who I became.

    That Voice was a gift to all of us

    I am very sad today and will be cranking the
    Donna tunes tonight

  40. pavelb says

    Every song she sang in the 70’s and early 80’s turned to gold because of her amazing voice.When I was in junior high (1983)she came back to Boston(her hometown)and the Mayor declared it “Donna Summer day” one day in May. I skipped school and went to go see her at her old high school. Awe-some! RIP, Donna.

  41. greenfuzz says

    Hers was the first songs I heard scared walking into that first club. Still remeber when “Last Dance” was the last song they would play at closing time. RIP Donna…

  42. Jody says

    in the 70’s I grew up in the mountains of Kentucky ..I felt alone,freakish, and sometimes hating myself so much as a teen I complicated suicide Donna’s Music was almost like a it’s gets better campaign it made me know that there was light, life and love somewhere far away under the strobe lights at a Disco “Late Night Flight LAX Limousine and your all set for Sunset”…..No matter what controversy she had due to her beliefs I believed in her and I never look back Thank you Donna.. Dust off the Disco ball in Heaven The Queen is Coming…..

  43. lucas says

    “If I caused you pain” IF? She actually caused her career to plummet after her homophobic remarks. She actually bit the hand that fed her. She spit on all the gay boys at the discos who loved her.

  44. Randal Oulton says

    It’s just too bad that she became an extreme, far-right Christian fundamentalist.

    But then, she was known for her singing, not her intellect. She didn’t even finish high school; she dropped out two months before graduation, so with not even that minimal intellectual backing, the black and white thinking of far-right Christian fundamentalism would have appealed to her.

  45. Darrell says

    Every remix of I Feel Love will stay with me as Donna Summer brought generations of us out in a musical way. When I heard the news this morning It was just repetition with a certain remix of that wonderful tune all day. May Heaven enjoy your company and talent! We will miss you till we meet again.

  46. David Hearn says

    I saw her in concert about 10 years ago in Tampa. It was like old friends at a reunion- an aging audience with an aging icon on stage, and some younger people who couldn’t possibly understand the bond there.

    As for those who hold grudges against her for real or imagined insults: I can’t speak for you but I myself have said many things over the years which wouldn’t play well in the press but are no measure of my charity or compassion. So grow up.

  47. David Hearn says

    PS – Donna Summer had no one “best” song, because she produced in multiple genres. But the top of any list by a connoisseur would be :

    Adaptation – State of Independence
    Dance – This Time I Know It’s For Real
    Ballad – Mac Arthur Park
    Slow – Winter Melody

  48. drmikey says

    So many memories. My partner and I cruised and danced to more than one of her songs the first night we noticed each other at a Probe party back in ’79. There were quite a few others before him during the Seventies with whom I shared her for a dance, a night or longer once or twice. But after my guy, ‘It Could Be Magic’ belonged only to us. And it still does today – 33 years later!

  49. doodlebok says

    When Bette Midler dies, she can join DS in Hell. We made them, then they crapped on us.

  50. Nychank says

    I’m very sorry Donna Summer is dead. She was my favorite singer. To me and other fans, we knew we had a great & VERSATILE singer in our midst. She sang each song differently and as she got older, her voice got stronger and she became a more successful singer, singing more emotionally than she had previously. I’m just very sad that after the “Homophobia debacle”, you think she would have learned to become more compassionate along the way. But “No.”. Interviewed by one of the free NYC gay rags while promoting her New “Crayons” album, she was asked her opinion on gay marriage. Now, while I agree EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO THEIR OWN BELIEFS, she replied that as a straight, married woman, she had no opinion one way or another on the issue. Huh ?!?!?!?!?? OK, due to her religious beliefs, I understand that she probably didn’t approve. And one way for her to answer the question as diplomatically as possible was the approach she took. Look, she owed me nothing. I bought her music for purely “selfish” reasons, not to line her pockets. I loved her music, I didn’t know her. In my opinion, she owed the gay community nothing. We bought her records for ourselves, not to do her a favor. It’s just the thing that makes me sad is that after all the soul-searching she must’ve undergone, she never came to the realization that “Love is love.” & “Different strokes…”. I know it would have made me feel so much better if she came out of her experience with kindness & understanding. Instead… I was really shocked & disappointed concerning her noncommittal, safe & easy way out. I thought she would’ve grown in that area. There are many religious people, including priests & nuns who are supportive of gay marriages today. I’m sorry if this is coming across bitterly, I don’t mean it to. I just want to say that Donna had a golden opportunity to make many people in the “LGBT” Community happy with her approval of same-sex marriage. It wasn’t that long ago that her interracial marriage would not have been allowed in far too many states. I know she understood discrimination. Why couldn’t she open her heart, I mean REALLY open her heart to people (fans or not) who were fighting to get married. Didn’t she want people in love with each other, start families, be a part of the community, etc. She could’ve used her celebrity to help this cause. She chose not to. I’m not only sorry she has passed, but I’m sad that she stayed steadfast to her principles even though she saw the pain it was causing.
    She (and her Lil gang, (Giorgio, Pete, Harold, Bruce, her sisters, etc.) leave us with seminal pieces of incredible genre-shattering music.
    Goodbye Mrs. Summer/Sudano.
    Peace to you all. She died FAR too early. She was even working on an album up to the last minute. A fighter to the end.
    I would love to say “Thank You.” for making my life (Especially my teens) richer. You Rocked & covered so many genres of music. You were so much more than “The Disco Queen”, a moniker you know she wasn’t too comfortable with. She was/is “Label-Free”.